A Look Into the Movies From the 17th Annual Film Festival By Jess ferguson

Helmed by senior directors Griffin Wilkins and Dennis Crowley, The Break is a comedy about a boy (played by Wilkins) who takes a break from his girlfriend (played by senior Hailey Lowenstein) only to find out she is now dating a boy exactly like him from Norwood. After many failed attempts to get her back, he ultimately must travel to Norwood with his best friend (played by senior Matt Glynn).

Because the movie is focused heavily in Norwood, with one of the main actors—senior Tim Rose—being from Norwood High, the crew’s biggest struggle was balancing the crew’s busy schedules with their entirely after-school shooting; however, they have been able to make it work.

“I’m most proud of the cinematography that Dennis has done because many of our shots are on location outside, and he did a great job of finding the right angles and thirds to make us look good,” Wilkins said.

Over the past few weeks, crews have been staying after consistently to get their movies completed, but for Wilkins, that has been the most rewarding part of the process.

“My favorite part has been the past couple of weeks, seeing every part of our movie finally come together in one cohesive film,” Wilkins said.

The Lucy Show is an independent comedy about two lazy kids who get stuck doing a sociology project with a girl that messes everything up. To combat this issue, they decide to make their project about her, where they make a documentary about her and her crazy ways. The film is directed by sophomores Amy Gordon and Christina Forester.

The film features first-time Film Festival actors Gordon, sophomores Gina Destito and Liam Welch and freshman Colin Wilber, and Forester notes that the humorous acting is the most unique part of their film this year.

“I am really proud of our actors and how they all used their own style to make the characters unique,” Forester said. “It was cool to see ad-libs they made actually work and make it even more funny.”

Since this film was the crew’s first year working in the Film Festival, it was a big learning experience for them to improve in the next two years of the festival.

“I learned how to set up shots, and even if you don’t have every shot you need, you can work around it and pull it together and have it still end up really great,” Forester said.

Class Clown is a dark comedy directed by juniors Lang Delapa and Chris Reilly, who worked together last year on Hit and Run. The movie is about a mysterious clown who, after appearing in Conor Cashman’s Flexisched intervention, wreaks havoc on four WHS students.

Last summer, Film Festival executive producer Mike Alan found a mysterious clown doll in the ceiling, which gave Reilly the idea to create a film that combines both elements of a horror film and comedy.

“The tone of our movie is really unique because the movie is a horror yet it keeps a comedy tone throughout so that it will make the audience entertained,” Reilly said.

The film stars Reilly, junior Paul Vozzella, sophomore James "Big Daddy" Kane and senior Allie Millette. Delapa’s favorite memory this year was filming with Kane, who is afraid of heights and did not want to jump off the stage of the auditorium for one of the scenes with Rich Kim.

“We filmed that scene for hours only to have to go back because we didn’t get enough shots to make it look realistic. Luckily, with lots of editing, a groovy tropical song, Russian subtitles, and the addition of a very angry Mr. Kim, we were able to turn it into a hilarious scene,” Delapa said.

Fade Away is a documentary directed by junior Ava Jingozian and discusses eating disorders: what they are, how they affect the person who has one, and how to support those affected by these disorders. Jingozian is featured in the documentary and shares her personal story with eating disorders while also hoping to break down the stigma behind them.

“Eating disorders are something that have personally affected me and people who I am close with. In recent years, I have become more outspoken about this disorder and I wanted to lessen the stigma around it,” Jingozian said. “I really hope I did this topic justice because I want to shed light on the issue in a way that will leave an impression.”

The most unique aspect of Fade Away is the voice-over throughout the film that, according to Jingozian, gives the film a more personal and unique feel.

“I am most proud of the voice over that guides the viewer throughout the movie. That voice over was an extremely last minute choice, and we wrote it and filmed it in a day, but I am really glad we did,” Jingozian said.

Big Daddy Kane vs. Jimmy The Kid is one of three sophomore independent films and is a comedy where notorious wrestling powerhouse Big Daddy Kane fires his coach, Peter Salmans. Salmans then resorts to training the underdog, junior Jimmy Haskins, to challenge Big Daddy’s reign of victory. Kane was the inspiration behind the film after directors Charlotte Clarke and Danielle Abril met him in the summer film program.

“We met James Kane over the summer, and he is quite the character. Danielle and I basically wrote our entire script around him,” Clarke said.

On top of the lack of class time for the independent film, the crew also faced difficulty in planning and preparing for all of their scenes, where art direction and extras were essential to their final product.

“We had to prepare crazy costumes and find tons of extras, so I’m really proud we were able to make it work,” Clarke said. “It’s really exciting. We have put a lot of work into this movie for the past school year and seeing that hard work pay off is going to be very rewarding.”

Aladdin Pants is a short documentary about the recent (primarily male) fashion trend and origination of people tucking their sweatpants into their socks, giving the illusion of Aladdin’s pants from the Disney movie. The idea for the movie came from an exercise the film classes did at the beginning of the year, which inspired Alan to pitch the idea to the crew.

The film is directed by sophomore Pat Cooney, and seniors Matt Falvey, Dan Hayes and Joe McGrath also assisted with the film this year. This year marks the first year in the Film Festival for both.

“I had a pretty good experience overall this year. I wasn’t really sure what to expect because it was my first year involved, but I really enjoyed it,” Falvey said.

Because it was the crew’s first year in the festival, budgeting their time on top of balancing their extracurricular commitments was a challenge this year for their crew.

“Our biggest challenge this year was finding time to get our movie done because our crew was four people who all played spring sports,” Falvey said.

Though its name may allude to something else, The F-Bomb is a documentary on the stigma behind feminism, centered primarily around Walpole High School, and is directed by seniors Jess Ferguson, Emma Alosi and Jenna McDonald.

Because feminism is a topic that not many people talk about, a struggle was to make the film both engaging and informative, which the crew combatted through animations created by Alosi using Adobe Animator.

“My favorite memory from film this year was probably seeing our animations put together because those are what sets us apart from many other movies, and it was very fulfilling seeing our vision come to life,” McDonald said.

Despite having the second due date, they finished four days early, their proudest moment from the year.

“Time management is a huge lesson I’ve learned from film because in order to get the movie you want, you need to have enough time to perfect it,” Ferguson said. “Since we had an early due date, I was worried we would be working against the clock, but I’m so proud that I was not only able to achieve the movie I envisioned, but there was also time left over.”

Gypsy Road is a horror documentary directed by seniors Jess Horne and Jeff Lennon and focuses on a paranormal area in Massachusetts called the Bridgewater Triangle. After hearing about all the stories from the triangle, three students venture to Gypsy Road, notorious for its haunted history. After Horne and Lennon went to Gypsy Road last year, they decided to create this documentary to talk about students’ experiences there. They also worked with science teacher Lara Walleston Harris, who introduced them to the triangle and is interviewed in the film.

The film is primarily narrated by senior Javon Jackson but also features stories from Lennon, alumni Danielle Borelli, Brynne Bergen and Libby Foley, among others.

Horne’s favorite memory from this year was simply being in the Period 5 film class, nicknamed “JV Film.”

“Being in JV Film was probably the best part about this year; JV Film just hits different than Varsity. My crew, likes to think we reinvented film this year,” Horne said.

Like with any crew, however, there are always challenges along the way: for the crew, their biggest difficulty was putting their ideas into tangible actions.

“The biggest challenge was everything. We had so many different ideas always that we never knew what to do half the time, but I’m proud that we finished it,” Horne said.

Yes, the title of this movie is correct: The Film Festival Movie, directed by and starring senior Ava Straccia and junior Emily Tomasetti, is a comedy about a girl (played by Straccia) whose world gets flipped around when she gets trapped in a Film Festival movie and must find a way out. Straccia was inspired to create this movie by her love of past films and Film Festival culture.

“Growing up, I saw the people around me participating in the festival, and I watched all the movies, so I always knew I wanted to be a part of it. I was inspired by all the past Film Festival movies and wanted to pay homage to them,” Straccia said.

Though scripts sometimes take weeks to complete, Straccia, after writing a completely different script, thought of the idea in the car and immediately after arriving home, wrote it and gave it to Alan.

Since the film is filled with Easter eggs from every year of the festival, a challenge was ensuring the movie would be enjoyable for those less familiar with the festival, but because of the movie’s ability to make fun of itself, Straccia hopes it is a hit.

“The plot has a lot of layers, so the most difficult part was making sure that it would make sense to every type of audience member,” Straccia said. “I hope that even the people who aren’t hardcore Film Festival vets can still appreciate the humor.”

The comedy Rebel is about WPS’ therapy dog Rebel, who, in the movie, is an actual therapist who talks to dogs about their problems. At the same time, a student named Derek (played by senior Reggie Michel) comes to Rebel seeking advice about his girlfriend (played by senior Nikki Griffin) but has some trouble booking a meeting.

Rebel is directed by seniors Nicole Waters and Myles Qualter and junior Emme DeVito.This year, film was split into classes; consequently, although having more time to work was helpful, there were also communication issues.

“Having our crew split between two classes was very difficult, especially when trying to coordinate scenes and find footage,” Waters said.

However, the crew’s biggest challenge was trying to find a way to make the dogs “talk” through the power of editing, which spent a long time to not only learn how to do but also execute.

“Editing the dogs talking was a major challenge, and for a while, we didn’t even know if we could do it,” Waters said. “I’m not sure if any other Film Fest movies have had talking dogs in them, but if they have, props to them because this is by no means easy.”

Head Bandits is the last of the sophomore independents and is a comedy about a kid named TJ (played by director Domenico Straccia) who loses his lucky headband in Latin class, so he assembles a crew of kids to help him retrieve the headband from a mysterious collector named Franky Cannoli (played by Pasquale Straccia), where the crew faces many challenges along the way. The film is directed by Straccia and Edwin Ryan and assistant directed by sophomore Mahoney Cyr.

“I feel kind of nervous about people seeing our movie on the big screen, because people might not think it’s that funny, but I’m also excited because if people do think it is funny, then it will make it more rewarding to watch,” Ryan said.

Like with the other independent films, this year was crucial to guiding their future years in film and taught their crew more tangible things like technical skills but also more abstract concepts like teamwork.

“I have learned so much from film this past year. I’ve learned, obviously, how to make a film and aspects like camera work and sound, but also balancing time to get things done within a deadline and being able to work with other people,” Ryan said.

The Knock is a rare horror movie featured in the Film Festival and is directed by seniors Nicole Hegarty and Sam Thorsen. The movie starts with the police finding a cell phone at a murder scene with evidence of the night’s event, and the movie follows each character and what happened to them during that night.

Hegarty's love for horror films and her experience assistant directing for alumnus Ryan Conlon's movie "this was you." last year contributed to her interest in making this movie.

“I’ve always wanted to make a horror movie and be behind the scenes of it,” Hegarty said. “I’m very excited and hope everyone understands the story and flow of the movie.”

Senior Jacob Talbot was the cinematographer for their crew and helped make their vision come to life, with advanced equipment such as the Ronin camera gimbal, which he bought for the movie.

“Our cinematography is very unique, and the camera equipment we used is unlike that used on other movies, so I’m very proud of the look of our movie,” Hegarty said.

Being involved with film since sophomore year, Hegarty has learned the importance of its teamwork aspect.

“This year especially, I’ve learned how to work with a team and not be afraid to share my own opinions while also taking others’ into consideration,” Hegarty said.

The Film Festival Red Carpet awards night is this Thursday, May 16. The red carpet will start at 4:30, and the show will start at 5:30. Tickets are $10 and are available at lunch for WHS students, or online at whsfilmfestival.com. Tickets are limited.

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