Cinefest Film Festival Lauds Undergraduate Achievement

Cinefest Lauds Creative Achievements

Fairfield film student holding his two Cinefest award certificates.

Diego Brijaldo ’23, a film, television, and media arts major, holds his two Cinefest awards, for Best Sound Design and Audience Choice, for his film Separados.

The annual film, television, and media arts flagship event drew more than 500 people; students were offered jobs on the spot.

The event is the culmination of all the work we do in the FTMA program, and an opportunity to showcase students.

— Patrick Brooks, MFA, assistant professor of visual and performing arts and director of FTMA program

The Film, Television, and Media Arts (FTMA) program in the College of Arts and Sciences hosts a yearly Cinefest film festival to celebrate the diligence and creative talents of Fairfield’s budding undergraduate student filmmakers, by screening their original short films. Pieces are selected by a jury of cross-discipline industry professionals and Fairfield faculty members who scour submissions for creative storylines and strong character development, among other elements.

A combination of Fairfield University faculty and FTMA alumni, 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 David Nevins ’12, VFX editor at The Walt Disney Company; Lisa Fischer ’16, an NYC-based producer, editor, and multimedia journalist; and freelance filmmaker and director Lisa Angell ’19.

The 2023 Cinefest festival was held at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on the evening of April 27, with nearly 500 people in attendance. The event featured viewings of 11 selected films, followed by a “Best of” awards ceremony.

“The event is the culmination of all the work we do in the FTMA program, and an opportunity to showcase students,” said Patrick Brooks, MFA, assistant professor of visual and performing arts and director of FTMA program. “For filmmakers, the end goal of making work is to show it to a live audience, and Cinefest allows for this critical experience.”

Graduating senior Diego Brijaldo ’23, an FTMA major with minors in management and marketing, said one of the most memorable aspects about participating in Cinefest was seeing the audience’s reaction to his and others’ films.

“This Cinefest, I was the director of two films. One of them, Separados, which is based on true events, won Best Sound Design, and the Audience Award. Students have the opportunity to learn from alumni who also participate as the jury.”

Professor Brooks also shared that this year’s audience was “vibrant and joyful,” and that one of the FTMA program alumni on the Cinefest jury panel, “even offered jobs to the students as assistant editors in Brooklyn.”

This year’s featured filmmakers are seniors and look forward to entering the workforce, many as freelance filmmakers in the film and media industry. 

Brijaldo will be heading to NBC Universal. “The FTMA Department and Fairfield University have prepared me both in my career and personally,” he said, “by helping me to understanding the entertainment industry and by giving me the opportunity to intern at different companies such as Fox News and NBC Sports.”

Watch the 2023 Cinefest Trailer

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