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Tag Archives: Twisted

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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"Voice & Rhythm" Event a Success!

March 31, 2014 saw NYC’s Film Anthology Archives packed with ESL learners, teachers, and enthusiasts. The “Voice & Rhythm” Event was well under-way with the three main sponsors well-represented: Broadway Dance Center dancers put on a spirited opening performance and later ended the night with passionate freestyle dancing; Rennert students shared a lively music video to the tune of Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind”; and the DFA shared videos from several of its ESL filmmakers.

The Broadway Dance Center Dancers
The Broadway Dance Center Dancers

DFA videos included three short pieces from international students. Daniel Adminokan from Nigeria showed a trailer for his short film Twisted, a dramatic thriller. Carina Silva Alves from Portugal shared an anime-esque adventure based on a 30-second short she’d made with her siblings while in middle school. The entire short was made with the use of a greenscreen. Finally, the DFA presentations were rounded out by a hot music video featuring belly-dancing from Turkey’s Nergis Senturk.

Tom Griffin, Director of Admissions for DFA, presents students' work
Tom Griffin, Director of Admissions for DFA, presents students’ work

Of course, the main events for the evening were the presentations by Fluency MC (Jason R. Levine) and Rachel Smith of Rachel’s English, two big YouTube personalities. They did not disappoint!

Fluency MC started strong, performing his hit “Stick Stuck Stuck (The Irregular Verb Song)” and getting the whole crowd of 100+ participants to sing along. All attendees got a free MP3 of the song in their gift packets. He also sang “That’s What’s Up” and “Get a Life,” two songs focused on two of the more versatile and therefore confusing words in the English language: up and get. His segment concluded with his “Rhyme & Rhythm” instrumental, a back-and-forth with the audience getting them to rap-respond to questions in full sentences.

Fluency MC does his thing!
Fluency MC does his thing!

Rachel blew the audience away when, in the first minutes of her presentation, she put her microphone aside and belted out a line from Madame Butterfly. A former opera singer, her take on learning English is different from that of the average person. Her technique is all about learning which syllables should be stressed and which shouldn’t, so that the language sounds natural. Her theory on how mastering sounds alone isn’t enough was fascinating; she concluded by saying that, when speaking a foreign language, “It shouldn’t feel as easy as speaking your own language. It should feel silly, weird, stupid, embarrassing… Make it feel different.” If you do that, you’re closer to getting it right.

Rachel gives an audience participant from Thailand a pronunciation lesson!
Rachel gives an audience participant from Thailand a pronunciation lesson!

Additionally, the night was absolutely loaded with prizes for attendees. Prizes included a day trip to Philadelphia, facials, sweatshirts, chocolate, dance classes, and lots more… but the biggest reaction came when a girl won a Circle Line Tour and decided to bring her best friend with her.

Later in the evening, her best friend won her own prize – a free film editing course at the DFA!

 

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain

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