Film Students Get Screened at SoHo Apple Store

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On Saturday, October 26th nine film and media students from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts screened their work at the Apple SoHo Theater. Most of the students were juniors and seniors, with two sophomores. Each presented a unique and interesting short film that showed off their talent and their passion.

The first short film was from the only sophomore, Patrick “P.J.” Thompson, called “Napoleon Dynamite.” In the film, Thompson is not only the director, but the lead role. He was dressed in full Napoleon Dynamite attire, and acts out an entire scene with an uncanny impression of the main character’s style, awkward dancing, and the audience’s mixed reactions to his performance. Despite the acting, the filming wasn’t with out it’s unique challenges.“The way we had to film it was really tiring, but I found being both director and actor was easier because that way I could do exactly what I was thinking,” says Thompson.

Next up was “Aaamy” by sophomore Sabrina Mendoza, a heartwarming short film about a zombie girl who is looking for more than merely a missing arm. Throughout the clip, Amy wanders around school hallways, secluded and out of place. When searching for her arm, someone beckons to her. A girl, with Amy’s arm in hand, tells her “You dropped this in chemistry,” and the story closes with the two walking out of the school with a moving Smiths’ song in the background.

“The style of the film was based around the rawness of the moment. I was more into the fact that the audience should be there, and feel like they were there, rather than just watching it,” says Mendoza.

Robert Brewi’s “How to Make a Wes Anderson Film” was a vastly entertaining piece, especially to those familiar with Wes Anderson’s film work. By showing the different trademarks commonly used in Anderson’s work (emotionless characters, awkward couples, etcetera), Brewi was able to produce a five minute how-to segment that was not only playful, but filled with romance, laughter, a British Invasion soundtrack, and overhead shots. And according to Brewi, no challenges were faced. “The biggest challenge was probably editing, but there were no other challenges because everyone was so professional and the cast and crew were all very close with one another. The environment on the set was really good, ” adds Robert.

Next, Mikaela Aguirre left a speechless audience with the film, “Angel in Queens.” It may have only been three minutes long, but the true and heartwarming story following Jorge Munoz was enough to touch the audience’s hearts. Munoz sacrifices his time and money to help the needy: from day-laborers to the homeless, jobless, and those who have lost their families. His routine revolves around preparing and serving meals, and while it will be the first meal of the day for some, it will be the first meal in days for others. However, a beautiful clip such as this doesn’t come without challenges. “The timing was a huge challenge. He’s definitely a busy man outside of what he does—but I was able to use his busy schedule to an advantage,” says Mikaela.

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Other short films screened included Stephanie Oppenheim’s “Kuduro” about a unique widespread dance movement called Kuduro, which originates in Angola, Africa. In this film, students from Brooklyn and Queens pushed past geographical boundaries to explore Kuduro. Additionally, a modern-day Romeo & Juliet set in the city was the basic outline for Miguel Cortes’ “A Tale of Two Delis.” A boy and a girl of two different races, and two different delicatessens, ignore the objection of their parents and fall in love.

Toward the end of the screening Christina Fuery showed her piece “Portrait: I am an Immigrant,” Krista Cohen screened her film “Grit,” Alex Gross presented “Portrait: Tunnels Under Harlem,” and lastly, “Pericles” by David Woon, a short documentary that brings you into the life of Pericles Almanzar, a subway preacher who dreams of one day preaching in his own church. This story of faith and perseverance sheds light upon a man’s quest for redemption in life and afterwards.

“It was difficult to break down the barrier of me as a filmmaker and him as a subject. But I realized that I agreed with him and what he was saying, what he preached. The more I treated him as a friend and less of a subject, that’s when I started to gain his trust. The story explains him and what he does for a living, but it goes much deeper than that,” said Woon.

Mr. Lopez, the FSSA film teacher who arranged the screening, added that the Apple SoHo Student Film Screening was an incredible opportunity for many FSSA film students to showcase the their best short films produced in recent years.

“I am very proud of the work that our film students have produced in the past as well as the projects that they are currently working on.  The Film Department and its dedicated studio teachers are very excited to continue to showcase our student’ incredible work in venues throughout New York City in the near future,” says Mr. Lopez.

The FSSA film students proved that their films were worthy of such an impressive venue.

by Mikaela Charalambous ’17

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