The annual CSI Student Film Festival saw a return to an in-person screening that included comedy, prizes, and a dynamic selection of 15 student films.

Students, faculty, and alumni filled the Recital Hall in the Center for the Arts, a first for the festival. For alumni, it was their chance to attend a screening in its usual fare instead of the virtual livestreams of the past two years. “No digital format could ever replicate the experience of sitting in a theater to engage with cinema,” said Lauren Silverman ‘21. “Film thrives on community; community within an audience, of course, but especially the bonds built between filmmakers. Young artists like myself need each other’s encouragement and support more than ever.”

The festival is a long-running annual event that typically runs during Finals Week. The May 16 event instead had students rushing to meet earlier deadlines for the Festival showing. Twenty-five films were submitted for the festival competition, with 15 of the best works being chosen for the screening.

Among the standouts were House of Memories by Aldo Merino, Midnight Warden by Michael Kelly, and Reflections by Louis Adorno. House of Memories (Casa de Recuerdos),which was praised for its “beautiful journey” and for “showing extraordinary restraint, discipline, and confidence” earned freshman Merino awards for Cinematography and Best Documentary. After cutting six minutes off the full version, Kelly’s Midnight Warden stood out as an action-superhero-thriller. Its production value and story earned Kelly the Best Narrative Film award. And finally, Reflections’ unique blend of dark humor and crime-drama flavor won over the audience, giving Adorno the Audience Choice award on top of his honorable mention.

The CSI Student Film Festival 2022 was funded by a grant from the Campus Activities Board through Student Activity Fees, which allowed for more awards than in previous years. The films were preceded by rousing stand-up comedy by CSI alumnus Shenuque Tissera, who hosted the event alongside festival director Mitchell Lovell. The judges, (Theresa Polgar, James Francis Richards, Christine Simon, and Janelle Simone) reviewed the films the week before the event and presented the awards with words of praise and encouragement to the student filmmakers.

Some of the films can be viewed on the Department of Media Culture Vimeo page, which will be updated weekly throughout the summer. 

CSI Film Festival Participants

Louis Adorno, Reflections

            Winner of Audience Choice, Honorable Mention

Sean Andino, The Mirror

Janelle DeBique, Spiritual Antenna

Franky Duran, One Room

Danielle Edwards, Anywhere but Home

Kyle Feliciano, Armored by Kyle

            Winner of Outstanding Editing

Finn Hughes, WSIA: 40 Years

            Winner of Best Story/Writing

Sheena Landires, Mad Ghost

Christopher Leon, Summer Roses

Aldo Merino, House of Memories (Casa de Recuerdos)

            Winner of Best Documentary, Winner of Outstanding Cinematography

Vincent Paolicelli, Loneliness

Andrew Tavarez, Behind the Noise

            Honorable Mention

Kyle Quesada, Hashi

Michael Kelly, Midnight Warden

            Winner of Best Narrative Film

Alex Zaulov, The Father

            Honorable Mention

By Mitchell Lovell