This crew represents the film festival past and future. Jake, Dan, and Katherine all had older brothers who were each a big part of past festivals. Together with the two Livs (Pratt and DiPasca) and art director Michaela Donato they bring a youthful energy to this independent film. The directors have all taken the summer film course, so they are not your typical newbie filmmakers. They’ve been working closely with alumni-producer Nick Pick, who, interestingly enough, had an alumni producer when he was a sophomore—so it is a nice come-around for Nick. Despite their youth, this group is getting some good stuff. They have a very funny script, and if they can pull of some of the tougher scenes, they could have film that will surprise a lot of people. I know at the very least these guys will learn a ton about how to make a film through this process. Nick has already admitted that all their shots are far better than anything his sophomore crew shot during its time making an independent film.
Buzz: Caramel Flan Latte
The strategy of this crew is to overwhelm the competition with sheer numbers. They do have some good players in the mix, too—namely, Jake and Dan. I think that if this crew can get into the middle of the pack by the wrap party, they may have a chance to finish near the top. I say this only because they have a lot of film festival knowledge, being the siblings of former directors and actors—and at the wrap party it’s all about film-fest trivia.
How do you follow up one of the zaniest films in film festival history? You make a zanier one. Well, admittedly, this film isn’t quite as zany as Martin in the Margins (sorry Brock fans, no unicorns this year), but it certainly keeps a lot of the funny sensibility of that film. Directors Katie McGovern and Felicia Romeo worked through multiple drafts and total reworks of this script to try and work within the structure of the film-festival movies and preserve their vision. They are reunited with their star and producer from last year—Mr. Bakale. From what I have seen so far, Bakale is crafting another memorable performance (no surprise from one our best faculty actors). Joining the crew this year is junior Mattt Moriarty as an asst. director and actor. The crew also decided to cast the ever-busy and talented Dan Mullen as their lead. The movie is chock full of absurd characters, ridiculous situations, and elaborate costumes. In short, it looks like it will be a lot of fun.
Buzz: Golden Ginger Ale Fizzio
Mattt aka “Trip” is very good at top-40 and Katie and Felicia will get some random ones now and again. They’ll be battling the documentaries and the independent film to try and get out of the bottom of the pack.
This movie got off to a bit of a slow start. Most movies are near the half-way point in terms of filming and editing; however, these guys have run into some weather issues and scheduling problems, leaving them with just a few scenes done thus far. Lately, however, they’ve been making more of a push to get what they need. This script is very funny, but comedy can be tough to pull off. Co-directors Ben Brownsword and Marc Sheehan have a good vision for the film and the shots they’ve gotten so far have been good—Marc specifically wanted to direct this film so he can work behind the camera, so I expect a well shot and composed film. As with any comedy, the acting is key. The film’s stars, seniors Rocco Frattassio and Mike Mazzotta, have good chemistry and are funny on screen. The challenge will be for Ben and Marc to find a balance between improv and script. The crew also consists of senior Kyle Gaughan and junior Owen Ross, who will both need to help out in all areas going forward to help this crew catch up. The potential for this film is huge just based on the humor of its cast and expertise that Sheehan brings behind the camera. I like what I’ve seen so far on screen, if they can keep this up and pull this movie off, they’ll have a major hit on their hands.
Buzz: Venti Cup of Black Coffee
Music Trivs: Pound-for-pound this is the best music-trivs crew. Now that doesn’t mean that they’ll end up winning, but they have the widest musical knowledge. Rocco knows his classic rock; Ben is very good at top-40, hip-hop, and rap; while Owen and Mazzo pick up the random alternatives. I predict they’ll be close to the top all year, but may struggle at the wrap party to hold on to the top spot when a lot of points depend on film-festival trivia.
Being a documentary is tough with regards to buzz. However, this documentary has the advantage of having a clear focus and guiding question: Why schools don’t weigh the arts as high as academics? It’s something that I firmly believe in and hope they can adequately explore. Director Nell Gordon has been indefatigable in her efforts to interview everyone she feels has something to say on this question. (Nell is also very creative herself—winning this year’s WHS Turkey Shoot.) She has a dedicated crew—comprised of Max Simons, Julia Muller, Erin Metcalfe, and Cesia Valdes. I know they have a ton of footage, but I haven’t seen much of it. Till I do, I think the buzz around this project will be low; however, the same was true with a documentary last year and we know what happened with that.
Buzz: Shaken Iced Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade
Nell is pretty good at picking up the modern alternative bands, but she has very little help. Boysenberry is currently in last place; they’ll probably be there most of the year.
Every year has its surprises. This year Disconnect may be a surprise contender. A late-in-the-game revision of the script totally changed the face of this project. It has become a movie that deals with a relevant social topic in a revolutionary way. The structure of the movie is something new to the film festival—and I think a lot of the film festival alumni will find it a refreshing change. The movie is helmed by two seniors who have come into their own this year. Danny Bean, aka The Beanix, has been steering this ship with a confident hand and clear vision. He learned a lot last year from RT Hardiman and is determined to live up to his nickname. Along with Bean, Bryan Kelleher has pushed his talents behind the camera to get unique shots and looks. Both Bryan and Bean have done great work with After Effects to jazz up the text messages we see on screen—an important element of the movie. These directors are getting a lot of great help from their crew. Corey Lynch and Ian Fair have been impressive in front of the camera, and the junior high crew looks great as well. The crew has been buoyed from a league of junior assistant directors who are all eager filmmakers. Grace Hoegler, Kaitlin Porter, Alyssa Murphy, and Tess Lancaster have all contributed to the production. If these asst. directors can keep growing and help make this movie come together, then this movie may do some damage in May.
Buzz: Venti Iced-Coffee with milk and sugar.
Kind of like the movie itself, this crew has been making a late surge in music trivs. Largely the result of Ian Fair, who is their best player. These guys will be threatening to make it in with the leaders all year if Ian plays. Bean and Corey can pick up a few here and there, but they lack another big player to do some real damage.
The 300-pound gorilla. As much as Marc Sheehan would love for this movie to fly under the radar and wow everybody at the festival, I think that is an impossible task based on last year’s success. As early as the day following last year’s festival, people wanted to know what Marc was doing next year. Having won Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay last year, Marc set the bar pretty high as to a his senior project. Marc was unsure what to do as well. As a result he wrote several scripts—several meaning four. Three out of the four are being made this year, with Marc directing two of them. Marc’s co-director, Melanie Caneja, may be the key to making this movie a success. Melanie is the last of the great Caneja Clan. Last year, Melanie worked as an assistant director under RT Hardiman. As a result, she learned a lot; however, much of the filming and editing of that film was done by RT. This year, Melanie was determined to grow as a filmmaker, and, despite my reservations, she was allowed to helm this project alongside the former Prince himself. So far, she has been superb. Both Marc and Mel really haven’t stopped working since getting the green light. They were meticulous in pre-pro, trying out different lenses and equipment to make sure they could achieve the look they wanted. I think they have 4 different lenses: a 11-16mm, 35 mm (1.4), 35 mm (2.0), and a 85 mm (1.8). They already have some great shots, with Mel doing most of the shooting. The rest of Jubaticaba’s crew has been equally on task and impressive. Tyler Barry is soaking up everything he can from his two senior directors. He already is a capable editor and is growing in confidence behind the camera. Lundy has the editing bug and is working hard putting the footage together. While Baker has been instrumental in shaping the movie with costumes and set design. In short, this movie is a well-oiled machine.
Buzz: Espresso (dopio) black with sugar.
Marc and Mel make a formidable trivs duo. They have been out in front most of the year so far. Lundy is good for a Shaggy answer now and again, while Barry and Baker get the obscure one from time to time. They’ll be fighting it out with Strawberry and Cucamelon for the lead going into the wrap party.
This crew happens to work at the desk next to mine; therefore, I feel I am more in tune with their progress than any other crew. This crew is comprised of three talented filmmakers—Lisa Regan, Angela Pyne, and Kristen Mich. What I like about these girls is that they do the work. Any time I suggest a documentary that they need to watch, they watch it. Now they just need the footage to make a compelling documentary. Any documentary is tough in terms of generating buzz. It’s the same in Hollywood—unless, maybe, if your movie stars Edward Snowden. Nevertheless, this movie did get a jolt in the arm by discovering that Dave “Knuckles” Jenks now works as a Walpole Firefighter. Jenks was the star and director of the 3rd-year WHS Film Festival hit “Pitchin’ in the Hall”. The crew may decide to focus on Jenks more and more as they search for an angle to their doc. We learned last year that if you have a talented crew and find the right story, the payoff can be huge!
Buzz: Peppermint Hot Chocolate
This crew lacks the musical scope to be any sort of threat—but a recent win on the Oscar contest propelled them from the cellar to the middle of the pack. They will be working hard not to maintain this position; however, look for these girls to study hard before the wrap party and move up the ladder with their film-fest trivia knowledge.