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Tag Archives: Jamaal Green

April 16th DFA Student Screening!

April 16th was the most recent screening of DFA students’ work – and the work was spectacular! Not only were the featured shorts diverse, but they displayed a range of skill not always found among new filmmakers.

The night kicked off with the short film Full Circle, written and directed by Pauline Gefin. Based on something that happened to Gefin in New York City, the charming piece details the karmic experience of a girl who helps a hungry man pay for food at a city food cart – and is then later rewarded when another guy pays for her lunch at another food cart and the two share a connection. Gefin’s filmmaking talent was apparent through her skillful shots and natural-feeling edits.

Pauline Gefin (right) talks about her short film and her PSA.
Pauline Gefin (right) talks about her short film and her PSA.

Gefin was also the only filmmaker to show two pieces that evening. The second piece, a PSA promoting literacy, was hilarious. Two days later, Gefin learned the PSA has been accepted to the 60 Seconds or Less Video Festival.

Up next was Daniel Ademinokan’s trailer for his thriller Twisted, also featured at the recent Voice & Rhythm Event. The tense preview gives viewers a glimpse into the life of an immigrant who quickly learns that the U.S., for her, is not a place of freedom. She shares the chillingly memorable line: “The brighter the picture, the darker the negative.” We’re looking forward to seeing the final film!

Next was episode two of the web series Chronicles of a Profiler by Jamaal Green. The web series, which has received quite a bit of buzz in the DFA community, features a former detective trying to escape a troubled past. He suffers from visions of crimes – sometimes before they even happen – and has friends and foes alike turn up to try and force him to confront his demons. Episode one is available for viewing at http://vimeo.com/78569149.

Writer/director Jamaal Green gets his turn in front of the camera!
Writer/director Jamaal Green gets his turn in front of the camera!

Tenzin Kalden shared his short film Zip, about chance connections, snap decisions, and how easily they can change your life. In the film, a young man “saves” a prostitute being physically threatened by her pimp – only to discover that he’s lost her quite a bit of money by doing so. Despite this fact, they’re able to make a connection – only to later suffer a terrible car accident.

Perhaps the most original work of the night was Carina Silva’s Gragon. The trailer had also been shown at the Voice & Rhythm event, but at the DFA screening, viewers were treated to the full short. This fantasy piece was shot entirely with a green screen and Silva filled in amazing special effects details to help tell the story of a Princess who travels to a strange land to battle against an oncoming evil force.

Carina Silva, Gragon filmmaker, being interviewed at the screening.
Carina Silva, Gragon filmmaker, being interviewed at the screening.

The night wrapped up with Football Coach Party by Joseph Leon. Unlike the other shorts, this was a documentary/interview-style piece filmed at the induction of Bill McCartney, the former University of Colorado football coach, into the College Football Hall of Fame. According to Gary Barnett, the assistant coach under McCartney at Colorado, “Mac,” as he’s affectionately known, took the team from being “as far down as possible to the national championship.” Along with Barnett, the piece included interviews with athletic director Rick George and Bill McCartney himself.

Bill McCartney gives a speech at the College Football Hall of Fame.
Bill McCartney gives a speech at the College Football Hall of Fame.

One thing that was noticeable was how students presenting films had also worked on a number of the other shorts being presented – in all different capacities. This not only fosters the sense of ‘family’ among DFA students and grads – something all the filmmakers at the event commented on – but also gives them all ample experience in multiple filmmaking roles before graduation.

Can’t wait to see what these up-and-comers show in the future!

 

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain

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DFA New Filmmakers' Screening

October 23rd was the most recent in a proud history of evenings that celebrate DFA graduates’ work. As each semester draws to a close, the DFA screens student projects at the Film Anthology Archives, an impressive venue in NYC whose name also carries quite a bit of weight.

The experience of getting to see their work on the big screen is often mind-blowing for students.

These nights typically feature a wide range of work across different genres, and the 23rd was no exception. The audience was treated to a documentary trailer, the first episode in a new web series, a video Kickstarter campaign, two innovative short films, and a music video.

Three of the filmmakers were in attendance, so I got to chat with them after the show.

First up for my Q&As was Rich Lanzillotto, the creator of the short film Stood Up. The film, which goes inside the troubled relationship of two New Yorkers, offers viewers an unsettling ending. Unlike the other filmmakers in attendance, Lanzillotto shied away from directing his own piece. His long-term goal is to become an editor, so he focused on the editing and producing of Stood Up, which he co-wrote with his step-brother. The directing reins were handed over to another DFA student, Joseph Leon Stein.

Next up on my journey through filmmakers was Mari Kawade, whose web series 2ndAve is garnering lots of well-deserved attention. Three episodes are already online and have received more that 17,000 views, no small accomplishment. Maho Honda and Tsukasa Kondo, Kawade’s two lead actors and co-producers, were also in attendance.

2ndAve Team
Tsukasa Kondo, Maho Honda, Sara McDermott Jain, and Mari Kawade talk about 2ndAve.

The show, which features a new-to-NYC Japanese actress (Honda) and her homo-sexual roommate (Kondo), has developed a strong following of immigrants. “We knew the show would have a strong reaction from other Japanese,” Kawade says, “But we didn’t expect the massive reaction from other immigrants.” 2ndAve’s storyline, which features, among other things, the struggle of living in a foreign country and trying to build a creative career, showcases characters that anyone can relate to.

2ndAve Mari
Tsukasa Kondo and Mari Kawade give Sara McDermott Jain the low-down on 2nd Ave’s audience.

The third filmmaker was Linda Ainouche, an Anthropology PhD with a passion for documentaries. Her documentary-in-the-making, Dreadlocks Story, was presented in the form of a trailer. The subject is fascinating: the documentary explores the connection between India and Jamaica, how India influenced Jamaica’s Rastafari, and the movement which led to the proliferation of dreadlocks. The finished film will delve into how this is a result of India and Jamaica both being oppressed by Britain at the same time, and how their resulting connection is one positive thing to emerge from this oppression.

Linda
Documentarian Linda Ainouche discusses Dreadlocks Story with Sara McDermott Jain.

Ainouche is currently organizing a crowd-funding campaign to help finance the next stages of her research. Of the DFA, all the filmmakers stressed how the support and experience offered during their classes made their films possible. The DFA membership, which allows free access to film equipment, also made it possible to do these films with little to no budget. Those filmmakers who were unfortunately unable to attend were Jamaal Green, whose Kickstarer campaign trailer for the dramatic, psychological web series Chronicles of a Profiler was screened; Christopher Delao, who directed the surprising short film The Room Next Door; and Jimmy Negron, whose music video “Anthem” for the group Chameleon packed a powerful punch. The following projects are available to view online:

Happy viewing!

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain

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