This past weekend Keene State College held the Annual Film Festival, a chance for Keene State College’s Film students to show off their hard work, as well as have the student population see their final projects, be they three-minute trailers, documentaries, or even feature length films.
Throughout the weekend, several students had the opportunity to show their stuff.
First was a trailer for an upcoming film project from a group of juniors called Annex.
The film looked to be an interesting mystery/thriller surrounding a young man discovering the fact that his deceased brother, who was involved in something of a much bigger picture that he did not fully understand.
Observing the trailer, one can see that the production quality was completely indistinguishable from a big budget Hollywood trailer.
The second film was a documentary about police officers here in Keene called Behind the Badge, a solo project by KSC student Alex Rinaldi. The documentary detailed the exploits of three police officers.
One detailed the hardships of working undercover and the anxiety that comes along with such great responsibility. Another, a woman, detailed some of the difficulties she was faced with as a woman in a profession in which there are so many men.
Finally, one police officer shared a time in which he was dealing with a hostage situation and due to unfortunate circumstances, the officer was forced to take a life in the line of duty and how that incident changed him for the rest of his life.
Rinaldi said in the Q&A conclusion of the film that he spent nearly thirty-six hours with these officers, getting all of the footage he possibly could.
Even someone with a small degree of experience can appreciate the difficulty and time it takes to capture such a tremendous amount of footage and edit it down to only twenty-five minutes.
The time and the stories Rinaldi exchanged with the officers were very personal, even to the point where, outside of the shown footage, two of the cops broke down and cried in front of him. Rinaldi humorously assured the audience that it was not the ‘lady cop’ who cried.
In order to get the officers to open up to him, Rinaldi said that he shared a personal story with them to make them feel more comfortable. As the director of the film, Rinaldi also said how the experience of filming this documentary changed him in some ways.
When he was young, there was a time that he once thought it was cool to be a cop and shoot people, sighting his love of action movies like the “Die Hard” trilogy as an example.
Now, through this project Rinaldi has seen the profound effects such an event can have on a persons life.
The final project of the afternoon was a feature length found footage film called St. Osmunds.
The film is centered around a documentary film crew who are trying to chronicle why St. Osmund’s, the fictional insane asylum credited as the most advanced mental institution of its time, closed down under mysterious circumstances.
Ben, the head of the crew’s fascination with mental illness stems from his own personal experience with his own mentally unstable father.
As Ben, his cameraman, best friend and their intern, enter the now abandoned asylum, they find far more than they bargained for.
Some mysterious occurrences begin to happen and they encounter what are either ghosts… or perhaps mental patients that never left the Asylum. As they trek deeper into the asylum, it seems that these strange occurrences are connected with Ben himself.
It seemed to be an excellent film that kept the audience on the edge of their seat the entire time.
Some might argue that the film’s quality is even rivaling most of Hollywood’s found footage films.
The crew of the film, during their own Q & A, stated that the sheer scope of their project was overwhelming.
They had to shoot in up to seven different buildings over twenty-two long days of shooting. The crew mentioned that they all were overcome with a universal feeling of, “Wow we did it!”, at least for now.
Tom Jorgensen, the writer and director of the project said that he drew inspirations from films like Cloverfield and The Last Exorcism for this film but wanted to add something new to the found footage genre at the same time.
Overall, these students did an excellent job with their films, as well as provided and proved themselves to be competent filmmakers. Those of the group who are going into the industry certainly have a bright future.
Wes Serafine can be contacted at