On Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m., many examples of student work were shown to appreciative attendees at the 18th Annual Suffield Film and Video Festival in the Suffield High School Auditorium. This year’s movies started off with a series of openings for the Morning Update show at the high school, including the exceptional animation of junior Emily Fabrizi, who created an animated highlight reel from this year’s shows. This year showed what is clearly the strongest collection yet of PSAs created for the Morning Update show, tackling such topics as substance abuse, Chromebook use, hallway crowding and more. There were also comical approaches taken to such topics as the school vending machines and bringing a pencil to class. Students who contributed to these numerous successful shorts include Quinn Bathgate, Jacob Smith, Daniel Casinghino, Nico Corbert, Nick Messenger, Travis Racine, Maxwell Beaudoin, Rene Sklar, Lucas Plano, Vincenzo Marmo, Brandon Severns, Ben Kawalec, Monica van Ginkel, Destiny Gonzalez and many others.
After those pieces, another series of projects were shown that played on twists from TV shows or movies in which students highlight the school setting generally in comedic ways to increase their sense of community. There were many highlights, and two featured shorts helped to earn prizes for their creators. Linnzie and Morgan Bacon shared the Outstanding Editor Award for their work on a short montage titled suffield, an anti-substance abuse Public Service Announcement, a School Spirit PSA, and Linnzie’s New York at Night. Mady Kadamus’s The Honors League was a particular crowd favorite featuring teachers as “secret superheroes,” while her moving Remembrance helped her earn Outstanding Artistic Contribution. Recently, Mady won the Young Filmmaker Award at the high school’s Senior Awards Ceremony.
For the other major awards of the night, Outstanding Motion Picture was won by Spencer Antuna and Robert Mueller for The Ag Office. This major production featured students and teachers from the Agriscience department in an extremely funny, well-produced comedy that captures the tone, style, and razor-sharp wit of the TV series exceptionally well while also being highly original. Spencer and Robert wrote the script, Katelyn Bentley was cinematographer, and Tim Saridakis edited along with Spencer and Robert.
Outstanding Director and Outstanding Cinematography were won by Olivia Dalfino for her many striking contributions to the festival, including Breathe (featuring Rene Sklar), Absent, Hallway Heart Attack (with Robert Mueller), and a MoUp opening sequence. McKayla Cole won Outstanding Actress for Absent and the MoUp opening, and she often writes and produces movies with Olivia. For Best Actor, Cam Begley won for roles in Spaghetti Boy (also Outstanding Comedy), Absent, and Class Dues Punisher.
Madeline Snell won Outstanding Screenplay for Good Story, which was also very dynamically directed, sound-designed, and edited; also of note among Madeline’s contributions was her very fun project The Last Jedi of SHS, directed by Manny Meleounis. In the Outstanding Documentary category, Mickey Barron won for his jaw-droppingly beautiful Allagash: Deep into Nature. Many festivalgoers could not believe the quality of photography in this nature documentary, honestly feeling that it captured National Geographic quality levels. Mickey had very stiff competition in the documentary category alongside works by Monica van Ginkel, Jamie Blean, and Linnzie Bacon.
Congratulations to all of our award winners and to all of the students who contributed work to the festival. For those interested in checking out this inspiring range of work, links to festival reels can be found on Suffield Public Schools’ social media platforms.