Annual Cinefest Film Festival Event Celebrates Student Work

Annual Cinefest Film Festival Event Celebrates Student Work

Fairfield faculty jury members present awards at Cinefest event this past April.

Fairfield faculty jury members present awards at Cinefest event this past April. (L-R: Prof. Meryl O’Connor, visiting assistant professor of film, television, and media arts; and Claudia Calhoun, PhD, assistant professor of visual and performing arts.)

This year, Fairfield University’s student film festival showcased students’ cinematic work and helped prepare them for professional life.

Each year, the Film, Television, and Media Arts (FTMA) program hosts the Cinefest film festival event, to celebrate the diligence and creative talents of Fairfield’s up-and-coming undergraduate student filmmakers by screening their original short film productions.

Films are selected by a jury of industry professionals and Fairfield faculty, who look for submissions with creative story lines and strong character development.

The 2022 Cinefest festival was held in-person at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on the evening of April 29, and featured viewings of eleven selected films, followed by a “Best of” awards ceremony.

“The event was great,” said rising junior Emily Merola ’24, an FTMA major with a graphic design minor. “Everyone had a fun time and we were all so proud of how smoothly it went.”

Merola, one of the student co-producers of the event, explained that Cinefest is important to the FTMA program because it allows students to showcase their work to peers and family members. It also provides a glimpse of professional life through access to the jury panel.

A mix of Fairfield University faculty and alumni and other industry professionals, the jury panel views selected films in advance and provides feedback to the students in a special invite-only session before the official Cinefest screenings. This year, the panel included Fairfield alumni Tom Sladek ’86, the head of digital and ancillary sales at Oscilloscope Pictures, and Emmy Award-winning film consultant Maria Clinton ’13.

"The student producers select and invite the jury to participate," said Patrick Brooks, assistant professor of visual and performing arts and director of the FTMA program. "The jury panel then directly addresses students at an event before the screening, takes them through their career pathways, and offers industry and filmmaking advice. We really have the aim of students leading the event, to accomplish goals they have in mind."

Student-created films screened at Cinefest also become useful springboards out into the working world, as portfolio content when applying for jobs.

Emily Merola ’24 is working as a freelance editor this summer for Cork Factory Films — a partnership of New York-based digital filmmakers. Jack McGlinchy ’24, a Magis Scholar studying finance and film at Fairfield, was also a student co-producer of Cinefest, and is currently an intern at A Slice of Pie productions.

The FTMA program is in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences. With a curriculum that focuses on merging traditional media with new media, the program takes a dynamic approach to the study of narrative media and is known for its tight-knit community.

“The film department at Fairfield is distinct because of its size,” Merola noted. “We have wonderful professors who really get to know each and every student. This makes it so easy to ask for help and learn more.”

See Photos from Cinefest 2022

See Photos from Cinefest 2022

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