By Ellen Cicchitti
Every spring semester, DeSales University hosts its annual film festival (DUFF) which showcases student and alumni films for anyone in attendance to see. Last Saturday, March 24, at 8:00 p.m., junior Joseph Sheehan and senior Amanda Seemayer oversaw the event, as the head producers, and introduced the 15 short films. There were a few technical difficulties that caused the program to start a little bit later than 8:00, but once the problems were fixed, the intro reel played, and the short films were ready to be seen.
The first film, Making It: A Passion Project by senior Jean Carlos Falcon, is one part of “a new documentary mini-series that looks at filmmakers from across the country, at different points of their life, and various levels of the industry to clear away the fog on the pathway towards a successful film career.” The documentary was very clean and professional-looking, with almost no audio mistakes or glitches. When Falcon was asked about how he made it, considering quite a few of the shots were set in Los Angeles, he said that the crew was able to go to Los Angeles for a few days, and he cites it to be an incredible experience.
The second film, Test by senior Matthew Krause, is about a test that comes to life and belittles the girl who is trying to pass it. Short and to the point, Test features some interesting cinematography and animation as the test writes messages to the girl.
The third film, Savior by junior Adam Barbato, is about a man whose normal hike in the woods switches into a life or death situation when he comes across a girl who has been kidnapped by a cult. It was a compelling run, and while the ending didn’t resolve the question of what happened to the man, it wrapped up most of the points nicely.
The fourth film, Memory Drive by juniors Karl Bohn and Adam Pivirotto, follows a man in a world where everyone’s memories are stored on flash drives around their necks, and when he witnesses a murder, he must fight to keep his memories from being deleted.
The fifth film, The Journey: Theresa Ann Fadem’s Story, directed by sophomore Conner Cohan, is a documentary about Theresa Ann Fadem, an adopted woman who attempts to overcome a series of misconceptions and strict adoption laws while she searches for her biological family. Incredibly moving and surprising, Fadem’s determination is the heart of this short film.
The sixth film, Seams Impossible by senior Elliot Laubach, was a cute tale about a fashion-obsessed girl who manages to meet a design deadline.
The seventh film, Knock Twice by junior Sam Kimchuk, is a suspenseful horror film, where a girl named Sarah attempts to contact her deceased mother through the Ouija board she finds in the attic. However, not everything is as it seems, and this message makes the story all the more terrifying. Many people in the audience shrieked when the ending finally revealed itself.
The eighth film, a documentary called The Conductor by juniors Anthony Antonelli and Adam Barbato, follows Eli Wilson, a passenger train conductor for the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe. He contemplates on why his job is meaningful and shares stories of his early passions for trains. Shot professionally and smoothly, the short documentary made the seemingly bland concept of a train conductor as a fascinating watch. One question the documentary didn’t answer, though, is how Wilson was able to get a hold of the position.
The ninth film, a short animation by senior Colleen Gallagher called Beyond Death’s Door, followed a story of the Grim Reaper befriending a recently deceased little girl. The colors were bright and cheery despite one of the characters being Death himself, and the storyline was very cute.
The tenth film, Journey-Man, written and directed by alumnus Joseph Bologna of the DeSales class of 2017, starred William Alexander, Jr. and DeSales Theatre professor Wayne Turney. It was the winner of the Los Angeles Film awards last year, and it was an official selection at the Newtown Theatre for the Independent Film Night. When a boxer struggling with bipolar disorder finds that his methods of controlling his emotions are coming into question, Ted is forced to choose between his current means of escape and the risk of finding a new and better path. Its blend of gorgeous shot composition, the brilliant acting, and the poignant writing makes the viewer see why this film had already won in such a prestigious contest.
The eleventh film, The Freekick by freshman Christopher Tocchet, featured a young aspiring soccer star practicing to hit the perfect freekick. Possibly the shortest film out of all the selections, it got its point across, but the one scene of strange, rapid camera closeups of the soccer player’s face made it hard to take the film seriously.
The twelfth film, A Century of Memories, a documentary by senior Celeste Iacono, is about an elderly woman recalling her life and the hardships she has faced as she celebrates her milestone birthday of 100 years old.
The thirteenth film, senior Elliot Laubach’s The Save, is a film about suicide and depression. A young woman who is plagued by her memories struggles against her darkest urge to end her life. The film had a moving message and a short clip of the hotlines one can call should he or she ever feel this dark urge.
The fourteenth film, The Veil, created by juniors Anthony Antonelli and Karl Bohn, takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a couple needs to decide their fate together. Gothic and chilling, the film does well at blending the age-old advice of “show, don’t tell” with making sure to tell a little bit–while the entire film’s premise is not fully revealed until the end, it offers enough hints and context clues for the audience to piece together what is happening.
The final and fifteenth film, The Nerfman, created by juniors Adam Barbato and starring Adam Pivirotto and Michael Healy, was a hilariously fun way to end the night. In a tale of friendship and betrayal, one man is paid to shoot Nerf darts at people, and he faces a moral dilemma when it turns out his next target is his best friend. The exaggerated acting from both Pivorotto and Healy left the audience in tears of laughter throughout its runtime.
After all of the showings, Chuck Gloman, the head of the film department, got up to speak about the hard work that these students had put into their films, and asked for any student who worked on the film to stand up. The winner of the Film Festival’s Best in Show was then announced, and the film that won was Bologna’s incredible Journey-Man.