by Gillian Puma, Staff Writer
The Manhattan College Film Society has shown that they have some aspiring filmmakers of their own, as two groups of students participated in the 24 Hour Film Slam in New Jersey on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.
The 24 Hour Film Slam is made responsible through FilmOneFest. FilmOneFest is a production of the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council. It is known for being the Jersey Shore’s showcase for all short films under two minutes in length.
This was the production’s Fifth Annual 24 Hour Film Slam. In order to participate, the students were given a 24-hour time restraint to create a short film. It had to be located in a parking lot, have an egg sandwich as a prop, and require a dialogue line within the script that said, “You probably shouldn’t put that there”. This was the first year that the M.C. Film Society had participated in the event.
“I was contacted by a representative at the 24 Hour Film Slam asking if students might want to participate in their event,’’ said Margaret Toth, advisor for the MC Film Society. “Many students were interested, so we ultimately formed two different teams and submitted two different films.”
Regan Alejo, Sharon Egan, Teresa Ramoni, Nick Chiofalo and Angela Ramoni were responsible for creating a short film titled “The Confession”, which won second place at the film slam. Film Society members Alfonse Calato, Megan Carmody and Michael Carlson also participated in the film slam. Their short film was titled “Hung Up”.
“The Confession” was a psychological thriller short film. The film starred Nicholas Chiofalo and Angela Ramoni. The film opens up with a birds eye view of Chiofalo walking down the aisle of a church. He is then shot going into confession, speaking to a priest.
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been um, it’s been too long since my last Confession,” Chiofalo opens the film saying, as the scene then cuts to him walking to a car in a parking lot. He goes into the car and opens up an egg sandwich. Through close-ups of the sandwich, Chiofalo’s voice over says “I’ve betrayed a sacred trust. I’ve hurt someone I’ve loved and cared about dearly. Committed a grave sin.” Then the shot changes to the back seat, in which we see a woman (Angela Ramoni) in the driver’s seat and Chiofalo in the passenger seat.
Chiofalo puts ketchup on the sandwich, while Ramoni says the required line, “You shouldn’t put that there”. Chiofalo then very emotionally continues with how he has sinned, as the scene changes to Ramoni throwing a piece of the sandwich inside the car window. Chiofalo looks at the window in shock. Chiofalo passionately confesses how this was his first offense, as the voice over plays over a scene in which Ramoni appears to be yelling at Chiofalo about something. The audience never knows what Ramoni is yelling at Chiofalo for.
The film then concludes with the priest responding to Chiofalo, “Your sins are forgiven. You may go in peace.” Chiofalo says, “Thank you. I’m a free man,” and leaves the church.
Regan Alejo spoke about working on the film. Alejo co-wrote, co-directed, and did the camera work for the film.
“There are a lot of Stanley Kubrick references that are very obvious in the film as far as cinematography goes,’’ Alejo said. She also accredited the film society for inspiring her, saying “Our film society theme this year is ‘Unconventional Endings’, so the twist and ambiguity was already on my mind.”
Alejo also expressed how the film was a team effort. “None of us really had one job and none of it was an individual effort,” she said. “I made poor Nick reshoot scenes over and over and over again if even one thing was slightly off. The same went for every process.”
The short film not only won second place, but will also be featured at the Film One Festival next July.
“If we win, I have no idea what comes next in terms of what we win and if there is another festival we entered into,” Alejo said. “But what I do know is that our minds will implode.”
When asked about the experience, Alejo said “This was a fantastic experience! We had immense fun working together and creating something we can be proud of,” she said. “We’re even talking about doing more short films just for the hell of it without the restrictions of the competition.”
Toth expressed her pride for the students that participated in the event, saying “I’m so proud of our students. It was especially gratifying to see current and former film students making use of the techniques they’ve learned in film classes with me.”