Awards season arrived as the CSI Film Festival ushered in a wave of potential Hollywood material and unveiled the newly renovated Screening Room in 1P-223.

With award categories ranging from Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Cinematography to the Audience Choice Award, multiple submissions were sent in with students eager to be in the running.

“I put a lot of effort into my submission that I was glad to have recognized,” said Emm Wilson, a cinema studies major who had their documentary, Meant to Be, as part of the selection. “I think the film festival is really exciting since you see other people’s artistic vision and whether or not it aligns with yours.”

This year had 15 student films chosen for the May 14 screening which covered everything from comedies and dramas that put a spin on everyday student life to serious works that showcased the magnum opus of soon to be graduates in the cinema department.

Among the standouts were Will by Robert Lenza, Two Sides of the Same Coin by Jayden “j1m” Metellus and Hear Me Out by Mohamed N. Alasri. Will, which was praised for its creative take on mental health and stand-out soundtrack, a live score of which was performed at the recent Undergraduate Research Conference, earned Lenza awards for Sound and Audience Choice.

Through the guise of a documentary that veers into the experimental and gritty, Two Sides of the Same Coin earned high regards for its camera technique and shot compositions which earned Metellus the Outstanding Cinematography and Best Documentary Film Awards.

Finally, Hear Me Out’s unique story about the “never-ending battle of ideas” in the creative process and its visual execution won Alasri the awards for Outstanding Editing, Outstanding Direction, and Best Narrative Film. “I was surprised,” says Alasri. “I didn’t expect the work to be that good, that people came up to me a gave good feedback and wanted to know who I am… “ Alasri’s other film Part of Me, an emotionally driven silent film about a man remembering his mother, resonated strongly with the audience. “It was a big motivation for me to continue.” Alasri, who is producing a senior thesis next year, intends on building upon his storytelling skills.

“Every year is largely about keeping the spirit going,” said Mitchell Lovell, director of the Film Festival. “We want to make sure students remain engaged with each other and appreciate each other’s work so as to build connections and collaborate further.”

The Film Festival marked the grand opening of the renovated Screening Room in 1P-223, a work in progress as far back as March 2020. With its brand-new furnishings, lighting, and a state-of-the-art projection booth and projector screen, viewers were treated to an immersive cinematic experience.

This is an annual spring semester event which has been running for nearly 20 years. The jury this year (Mikhael Antone-D’Angelo, Nick Balzomo, Kenneth L Clemons Jr., Jodi Gibson, Réal Gill, and John Szeluga), is made up of alumni and prior staff/faculty of the Department making the inauguration of the screening room also a homecoming.

Whether it be next year’s Oscars nominations or the next time you sit through a movie’s end credits in theaters, keep an eye out for names such as Mohamed Alasri, Keith Clemons, Julian Engle, Anthony Flores, Sam Goslin, Brendan Hall, Michael Kelly, Robert Lenza, Austin Maida, Carmine Mazza, Jayden Metellus, Karena Pang, Patrick Regan, Emm Wilson, and Ethan Wiltshire, all of whom were featured in this year’s Festival.

“People bring their friends and family, so everyone who’s watching the films is invested in them which is something really special,” said Lauren Silverman, marketing coordinator for the festival. “It’s always good to have a competitive edge since it makes people want to improve their own work knowing that they’re in the running for an award.”

Below is a list of all the award winners:

Outstanding Cinematography

Winner: Two Sides of the Same Coin, Jayden Metellus Honorable Mention: Girl with a Movie Camera, Karena Pang

Outstanding Writing/Story

Winner: Part of Me, Mohamed N. Alasri Honorable Mention: Blanked, Patrick John Regan

Outstanding Sound

Winner: Will, Robert Lenza

Honorable Mention: Hear Me Out, Mohamed N. Alasri

Outstanding Editing

Winner: Hear Me Out, Mohamed N. Alasri

Honorable Mention: Two Sides of the Same Coin, Jayden Metellus

Outstanding Direction

Winner: Hear Me Out, Mohamed N. Alasri

Honorable Mention: Les Voix de Paris, Anthony Flores

Best Micro Short Film

Winner: Girl with a Movie Camera, Karena Pang Honorable Mention: Boxing Legends, Keith Clemons

Best Documentary Film

Winner: Two Sides of the Same Coin, Jayden Metellus

Honorable Mention: Les Voix de Paris, Anthony Flores

Best Narrative Film

Winner: Hear Me Out, Mohamed N. Alasri Honorable Mention: Will, Robert Lenza

Audience Choice

Winner: Will, Robert Lenza

See the Full Photo Gallery of winners HERE.

By: Ariana Gaytan

Photo: Film Production senior, Robert Lenza celebrates his win with cast and crew.