Thirty-second annual student film festival wows audiences at Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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Movie Magic

June 11, 2014

The Faculty Select filmmakers stand outside of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (from left to right): Maritza Gomez '14, Acharya Partin '14, Jenny McQualie '14, Lee Jung Woo '14, Lorraine Singletary '14, Rashan Castro '14, and Sean Dwyer '14.

It took two theaters to hold all of the film aficionados who attended the 32nd Annual Brooklyn College Student Film Festival held on May 27 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Twenty-four short films were shown in three showcases, in a day that highlighted the best and brightest student filmmakers.

"The festival is not only a culminating event that celebrates the artistry and diligence of our students," said Department of Film Chairperson and Professor Paula Masood, "but it is also a chance for us, as faculty members, to witness their progress and thereby evaluate the film program's strengths and opportunities for growth."

Of the 24 films shown, eight had the distinction of being recognized as Faculty Select, signaling their exceptional promise.

"I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the films," said Jonathan Wacks, founding director of Brooklyn College's Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Steiner Studios. "I was the head of film programs at schools in Santa Fe, Vancouver, and Boston, and I have never seen work of such high quality before." A renowned filmmaker, Wacks' credits include Repo Man, Powwow Highway, and the classic television show 21 Jump Street. Set to open in the fall of 2015, the Barry R. Feirsten school will be the first public graduate school of cinema in New York City and the only one in the country seamlessly integrated into a working film lot.

Wacks added that the school intends to welcome a carefully selected group of about 100 students from across the globe and will offer M.A., M.S., and M.F.A. degrees in specialized areas, including cinema studies, cinematography, directing, musical scoring, production, post-production, screenwriting, and more.

"Within the tradition of Brooklyn College and the City University of New York, we are deeply committed to diversity and inclusion," said Wacks. "We are looking to give opportunities to those voices that have been marginalized in the film industry, to give a different flavor to what films can be in the 21st century."

Lorraine Singletary '14, whose film, Locked Memories, was part of the Faculty Select series, was thrilled by Wacks' message. She intends to apply to the graduate school of cinema.

"I'm confident that I've gained the skills necessary to compete to the point where, hopefully, my work will speak for itself and open any closed doors," said Singletary.

Rasa Acharya Partin '14—one of the winners of the grand prize at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's annual 2014 Savvy Credit Video Festival for his work on a video exploring the perils of bad credit, and whose work, Audible, was also part of the Faculty Select series—credits Masood as well as Assistant Professor Sarah J. Christman for helping him focus as he prepares for graduate studies in cinematography at the American Film Institute (AFI) in the fall. In fact, he says that these faculty members connected him with Calvin Robertson '12, the first Brooklyn College graduate to make it into AFI for directing.

"I met up with him to talk about how to prepare for entry into AFI and he explained how he was in touch with Christman and needed her expertise on an editing question. Brooklyn College professors make themselves available to students even after they graduate. They're still interested in our success no matter where we are," he said.

The event ended with an Oscar-like awards ceremony honoring the students' works. Listed below are each of the awards (including an award named in the memory of filmmaker Ryo Murakami '04, who passed away suddenly in 2013), as well as the winners in each category and the works for which they won.

The Ryo Murakami Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Eric Gentry-Weeks (Harry Smith, Marigolds, Teddy)

Outstanding Achievement in Directing
Maritza Gomez (Without)

Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking
Jenny McQualie (Laces)

Outstanding Achievement Editing
Rasa Acharya Partin (Audible)

Outstanding Achievement in Location Sound Recording
Alyssa Schwartzberg (Balk, Capital Men, Leaving Home, The Professor)

Outstanding Achievement in Producing
Lorraine Singletary (Locked Memories)

Outstanding Achievement in Production Design
Haruka Kawasumi (Audible, Marigolds, The String Out)

Outstanding Achievement in Screenwriting
Rashan Castro (Balk)

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
Adam Diller (28 Outfalls, Audible, Laces)

The Audience Choice Award (sponsored by Adorama Rental Company)
Rashan Castro (Balk)


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