Puja Thapa / Administrative Executive editor

Joseph Guzman

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Filmmakers, friends and family entered the Putnam Theater Thursday, May 2, at 7:00 p.m. to view the creations of the beginning and intermediate film classes for those within the major. This showcase highlighted five different production classes and their diverse styles:  Animation, 16MM, Video Production 1, Cinema & Diversity and Creative Digital Non-Fiction. 20 different films were shown by 23 different filmmakers ranging all the way from first years to two graduating seniors, Satoko Saito and Gabriel Vasquez-Billin. Co-Head of Film Faculty Irina Leimbacher said, “The Film Festival of beginner and intermediate films is done a bit differently each year. For instance, some years all faculty participate in the selection committee, some years just a few, and last year the selection was done by a class I was teaching, so the students in the Film Curating course actually selected and organized and ordered the films in the screening. So there is no one way, but essentially we start with asking the professors to nominate two to four films from each filmmaking class they taught the entire year. This year we looked at somewhere between 35 and 45 works and selected 20. The idea behind the festival is that all levels and all classes be represented in some way and that together the program showcases the talents and diverse approaches, concerns and topics of our students.”

First-year Justin Wood said,“The name of my film is ‘CUT.’ I meant the film to be a look at the internal struggles of editing for many late hours at a time. While filming only took one to two days, editing took a few weeks to completely finish a cut that I was satisfied with, and one that I thought would accurately portray what I was trying to convey. My favorite genre to create in is abstract horror, as I feel I strongly relate to many of the images I can visualize putting onto screen. A story is always there when creating a film, but most interestingly as with all of my projects is the fact that the final cut of what I make never quite looks like how I first envisioned it.”

Wood also enjoyed the work of another filmmaker, Saito. Wood said, “My favorite film of the showcase was ‘Blurred Portrait’ for how it displayed the differences of individuals but ultimately showed how much they had in common.”

Keene State Junior John Kelleher said, “The name of my movie is called ‘Namaste’ and my film is about the Global Engagement class’s trip to Nepal. ‘Namaste’ is a Nepali word that has a few different meanings but the general meaning is ‘I am pleased to meet you and I wish blessings upon you.’ That was the main way people greeted us when they met us and that’s how we greeted them back so I thought the name would be fitting.”

Kelleher said the film presented him with a different type of process than the traditional production style.“I actually didn’t have to shoot anything for the movie  because all of the footage was taken on cell phones on the trip from me and other people in our group took while we were in Nepal. I did interview with other people in the class, so that and the editing and setting up the interviews all took around three months,” Kelleher said.

“There actually was a process kinda figuring out what this movie was going to be about. I didn’t just wanna have it be a step by step high collection of all our trips. That’s kinda what most trip videos are like. Like ‘oh we went to this place and this place,’” Kelleher said. “I kinda wanted [it] to be about the emotions and experiences of the trip, not just the itinerary of where we went. I started working on it more, got more feedback from my teacher, and certain themes begin to pop up, especially when people started doing the interviews. I started exploring the benefits of travelling to other cultures and learning about other cultures. […] Also initially, I just wanted to have the student interviews be the only ones speaking but I decided they shouldn’t be the only ones and I started looking for as much footage of the Nepali tour guides and as much footage of them speaking and I tried to put that in the film so I could give them a voice as well. I figured since it was a story about another culture It shouldn’t just come from the white American describing the other culture, I wanted to provide an important voice for those people as well.”

Leimbacher said that the goal of the screening was to represent the breadth and diversity of production that year, and said,, “When I came here, the faculty was just starting to feel that there were too many films and that it would be more useful to do a selection of them and shape those into a program that would be of interest to all students and their friends/ families etc. […] So it has been about 8 years that we have been creating an 80- 90 minute selection of works for the Film Festival.”

Joseph Guzman can be contacted at

jguzman@kscequinox.com