Student and alumni films to get lots of looks at SUNYWide festival

Roger Coda
logo for film festival of camera

A grand total of 15 Fredonia students and alumni were at the helm of films chosen as finalists in the 10th annual SUNYWide Film Festival, to be hosted by Purchase College’s School of Film and Media Studies on Friday and Saturday, April 9 and 10.

In fact, Fredonia filmmakers account for nearly a third of all films – 16 of 49 – to be screened. Purchase College postponed the festival from last spring.

“We were certainly well represented and I am proud of our students and their accomplishments,” said Department of Visual Arts and New Media Associate Professor Phil Hastings. It was Mr. Hastings who, with assistance from the Cinema Alternative student group and Department of Visual Arts and New Media, founded the festival that was launched at Fredonia.

Fredonia is poised to stand out a lot at this year’s festival, which is huge, commented Susan Kehl, who graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.F.A. in Film & Video Arts in 2020 and directed films that advanced to three SUNYWide festivals, including this year.

“I have noticed in past years that at least one SUNY college stands out from the rest in the annual selections. Knowing that Fredonia will take that role this year makes me extremely happy. I am grateful to be a part of it with my personal animation, ‘Blues,’ and a collaborative project that I was a part of, called ‘He Knows,’” Ms. Kehl said.

Hastings is always adamant that students submit to this festival every year – even first-time filmmakers in his intro class, Kehl noted. “He knows what an honor it is to be recognized by the festival, being that the SUNY system is so huge,” she said.

These students – among a record number of students enrolled in Visual Arts and New Media’s Film & Video Arts program – landed films in four of the festival’s five categories: narrative, documentary, animation and experimental.

Narrative selections:

 “Death by Denim,” directed by Emily Sando, senior, Video Production, minors in Visual Arts and New Media and Film Studies, from Elmira; and “He Knows,” directed by Sydney Pelino, senior, Video Production, minors in Film Studies and English, Buffalo.

Documentary selections:

“Aesthetics of the Ordinary,” co-directed by Brandon Breev, sophomore, Film & Video Arts, New York, and Una Miller, ’20 graduate, Psychology, minor in Film Studies, Greenwich; “God Made a Farmer,” Carl Aldinger, senior, majors in Video Production and Spanish, Alden; and “Gratification,” Katy Fermin, majors in Photography and Film & Video Arts, Syracuse.

Animation selections:

“Blues,” directed by Susan Kehl, ’20, Film & Video Arts, minor in Film Studies, Attica; “Phoenix Project,” Meghan Smith, ’19, Film & Video Arts, Geneseo; and “The Devil Within,” Michael Peckham, ’20, B.F.A. in Animation and Illustration, Prospect.

Experimental selections:

“Arise,” Danielle Singer, senior, Graphic Design, Indialantic, Fla.; “A Working Woman,” Chloe Muscarella, junior, Public Relations, minor in Visual Arts and New Media, Hilton; “Human Form,” Emily Sando, senior, Video Production, minors in Visual Arts and New Media and Film Studies, Elmira; “Keys,” Jason Eberl, senior, Film & Video Arts, Tonawanda; “My Past Follow Me Like Shadows,” Ryan Terry, junior, Music Composition, minor in Visual Arts and New Media, Elma;

Also, “Terminal,” Haley Poth, senior, majors in Video Production and Public Relations, minor in Visual Arts and New Media, Rochester, N.Y.; “The Door,” Hunter Bardin, junior, Film & Video Arts, Delmar, and “The Machine,” Amber Pauly, junior, Film & Video Arts, Depew.

“I have always felt very lucky to be included in the festival – knowing that I was up against all of the other SUNY schools really made me feel like my films were valued and appreciated,” Kehl said.

“The Door” is Mr. Bardin’s first entry in the festival. He is this year’s Cinema Alternatives president and is looking forward to seeing the festival and watching how it unfolds online.

The festival’s official trailer can be viewed, as well as updates and additional information, is available online at the festival’s website.

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