Thursday, Oct. 2 was the Keene State College Putnam Theater screening of alumni independent film works. The program boasted six works from three different KSC alumni, Jenny Plante, Taylor McIntosh and Lindsay Jackson. In his opening introduction to the screening film department head Jonathan Schwartz spoke about each student’s past at Keene State College.
He said that each student had “a hunger to make films.” Schwartz continued, “Instead of being just students, they were students and filmmakers.” These “active students” continued to make independent films after graduating from KSC and those are the works that were screened.
The first filmmaker whose works were screened was Taylor McIntosh. He is currently completing a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His first film was “Kimbo” a non-fiction piece about a man and his trouble with the law.
Viewer Caitlen Brown said, “You never really get to know the man, but you get to live in his world for fifteen minutes. You get to see that he really wants to be happy.”
Shot in black and white and featured mostly talking heads, the film garnered a strong reaction from the audience. Attendant Becca Costanzo said, “It was beautifully, beautifully shot.”
McIntosh’s next film, “The Kid,” was a single shot of a man smoking. The film was shot on eight millimeter film and was silent.
His final film was “Swift River.” The plot outline on the film’s Kickstarter page, an online crowd funding website, stated, “’Swift River’ examines a man and his dog as they segregate themselves from the world in hopes of mining gold on a river in Maine.”
Featuring black and white digital photography the film had, in viewer Amanda Clark’s words, “beautiful and quiet” cinematography.
Lindsay Jackson’s only piece was “The Velvet Citizen.” Before going to Prague to film this short, Jackson worked for Ken Burns, a regional documentarian best known for his film series “The Civil War.” She was also a cinematographer for his documentary “The Address.”
“The Velvet Citizen” is the story of Communist oppression following the Prague Spring. The Prague Spring occurred in 1968 when Czechoslovakia rejected Russian Communist authority. The film was shot in Prague and featured mainly Czech speakers with subtitles.
The last filmmaker of the night was Jenny Plante. She is currently earning a MFA in Boston. Her first work was the experimental “Pure Pain.” Schwartz was able to offer some insight into the processes the film underwent. He said that it was “shot on expired film” and then developed with “expired chemicals.”
This gave the film a distinct look that resonated with audience members like James Attridge who said, “The process, aesthetic and themes of occult were really interesting.”
Costanzo said, ”Its absurd qualities gave me a strong response. It made me feel highly uncomfortable, but that’s okay — films should make you feel uncomfortable sometimes.”
Plante’s last piece and the final piece of the night was “The Second Nurse.” The film depicts a nurse as she prepares to give a lobotomy to an unseen patient. According to Plante the film was “shot over three days.” Plante said, “Most of the film really came together in post-production when I began collaborating with my friend Kyle who composed the music for the piece.”
Audience member Clark noted that, “The film had an intense quality that was unnerving in terms of storyline and aesthetic.”
Plante’s next film will be titled “All of them Bitches” and will revolve around actresses marathoning through a forest.
Addressing her continued work in the field of film Plante stated, “I don’t know that I gave myself any other option other than to continue making work.”
She continued, “To be a filmmaker, you must continue making, no matter the scale of the project or the budget. You must motivate yourself because no one is going to do it for you.”
This alumni screening is the first that Schwartz has overseen as department head. Last year, an alumni panel was put together but was orientated to giving advice to students in job placement.
According to Schwartz this screening was meant to “celebrate student work and build a film community.” This screening will be followed up next semester with a screening that focuses on post-graduate work that is not independent and in the industry field of work.
Next week’s Putnam special screening is of filmmaker Mary Helena Clark. Her films are being screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. According to the Putnam schedule her work “explores genre themes, the materiality of film and the pleasure of Tromp L’oeil.”
Joseph Jowett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org