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Emerson Student Films Draw Accolades, Fans at Annual Festival

Out of 140 student films submitted to the 18th annual Emerson Film Festival this year, 16 were shown to students, faculty, and friends in the Bright Family Screening Room on Sunday, March 25.

“What I like about it is that we just look at the films,” Visual and Media Arts Chair Brooke Knight said of the selection process. “We don’t look at what class standings the students have or what program they are in. We just look what the work they do and a group of faculty decide what films get shown.”

Festival organizers divided the films into two categories — Homeworlds and Interworlds — with separate screenings held before a reception in the new Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery at 25 Avery Street

The festival was an opportunity to showcase student films that might not otherwise be seen.

“After most films are wrapped they hit the film circuit and aren’t widely released online, so this is a great way for people to be able to check out student films for free,” said Brooke Solomon ’19, who was an assistant director for two of the films that were showcased.

The festival drew not only the Emerson community but also David Kaptzan, a student at Northeastern University.

“I heard there was going to be some great films shown and Northeastern film doesn't have the recognition that Emerson does, so I really wanted to come and see some good films,” Kaptzan said.

Solomon said as exciting as the festival is, she would like to see it in an even larger space. “The Bright is a great venue, but it does only fit so many people, so I think it would be really cool if it was at the Loews [on Tremont Street], where we could really make a huge event out of it.”  

Similarly, Kyra Power ’18, writer/producer of The Kite, said she would like to see more Emerson graduates attend. “I think it would be cool if we brought alumni back in, so not only could current Emerson students see this work, but alumni could see what Emerson students are still doing.”

The post-festival reception included an informal award ceremony. MFA student Alexandra Geller won the BOSCPUG (Boston Creative Pro User Group) Audience Award, which comes with a prize of software, as well as the Marcia Robbins Wilf Award of $1,000, for her film, Misgivings.

The Take Action Hollywood Award for Social Justice Filmmaking, with a prize of $1,500, went to MFA student Keely Kernan for Not From Here Nor There, and Zaji Zabalerio ’17 for God’s Illiterate.

Timothy Ruesch ’18 won the Jeff Arch Screenwriting Award and Yasmina Hilal ’18 won the Jonathan Hart Friedenberg Award.

Seven seniors were recognized for their achievements in film, as well as their time at Emerson: Yasmina Hilal, Samantha Doyle, Darren Samuels, Aprupupa Balasubramanyam, Andrea Velazquez, Lucas Becker-Lowe, and Rachel Labonte.

The films screened were:

Misgivings by Geller

REAGAN by Luke Gibson ‘18

Where We Must Go by Matthew Hacunda ‘17

Mary & Marsha in the Manor of Madness by Kris Theorin ‘20

Instant Love by Harrison Jeffs ‘17

Finding Fourth by Emilia Brennan ‘18

Not From Here Nor There by Kernan

God’s Illiterate by Zabalerio

Senses by João Vieira ’19 and Sylvie Sutton ‘19

Nature Boy by Quinn Holmes ‘21

The Kite by Jordan Crawford ‘19

Bounce by Jordan Gustafson ‘17

The Shadow by Isaac Switzer ‘18

Fated to Repeat by Logan J. Freeman, MFA ‘17

The Gift of the Woods by Theorin

Wake_Up by Nicholas Novak ‘17






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