Student movies impress, amuse at Film Festival

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Tom Farris , Contributing Writer

 

Anyone walking into Lynch with a T-shirt and jeans last Saturday night might have felt a bit out of place at the University of Dallas equivalent of the Oscars.

On the night of April 12, UD hosted its 2014 Tower Film Festival. The event opened with a movie portraying the two elegant and snarky senior hosts, Joe Hrbacek and Mike O’Donnell, trying and failing to find dates to Spring Formal with the help of a curly-haired, hoodie-bedecked, shade-wearing genie who told them the secrets of what women want (feats of strength, pick-up lines and money). After it ended, the two seniors appeared brilliantly on stage bearing roses, which they proceeded to give to every woman and man they felt like asking to Formal, in a last ditch effort to continue the joke about the Film Festival not being Formal. The two hosts also reminded the audience of the film criteria: Each film must be no more than seven minutes long and must include a flaming cupcake, a Cap Bar worker and either the phrase “thanks Obama” or a hashtag.

Outside of Lynch Hall, moviegoers could strike a pose in front of the “paparazzi” (aka Paul Fiesel) in their red carpet attire. -Photo by Paul Fiesel
Outside of Lynch Hall, moviegoers could strike a pose in front of the “paparazzi” (aka Paul Fiesel) in their red carpet attire.
-Photo by Paul Fiesel

The first (and only foreign) film to grace the screen was Timothy Nguyen’s “Long Story Short.” In the film, Tim goes to pick up his little cousin, who insists that Tim tell him a story. Tim then begins the story of Bonaventure (played by Killian Beeler), an uptight, unhappy psychologist with the powers of flame creation and mind control, who fights his patient Alesio (Anthony Masterson) for the affections of a girl (played by Selena Puente). At the end of the story, the audience realizes that Tim has fallen asleep and his little cousin has left.

The next film was Michael McDermott’s “Here’s to Yesterday,” a film whose plot the hosts had difficulty understanding. Several guesses were made by the crowd as to what the film was about. Some said “life,” others, “the struggle,” while still more said things like “fascism” and “Alcibiades.” After the event, McDermott stated that the film was meant to be a “big joke,” which made an ordinary day unnaturally epic.

The third film was “The Doorman,” which won second place. It was Maria Linn’s absurdist comedy about modern reincarnations at UD of the chivalric attitude, starring Johnny Defilippis as the man who hopes to find a wife by holding doors open. He holds doors open for three senior girls until the girls begin to avoid going through the doors he opens because of his odd behavior. The ‘doorman’ then decides to switch to pulling out chairs.

The fourth film presented was “The Jungleman,” in which Tony Lemos and friends tried to catch the wild man of the Old Mill woods, who happened to be Rafi. Watching the film brought startling questions to my mind such as, “Where did Tony Lemos get that red jumpsuit?” “What was Reese’s second line?” and “What was the plot again?” Though Rafi appeared frequently in the film, the reason why his capture was attempted remained unclear to many viewers.

Alex Lemke’s “Senior VS Freshman Year” was a humorous and honest comparison of the difference between the attitudes of students at the beginning and end of the UD undergrad experience. For many watchers, the attitudes portrayed in the film were all too familiar.

Joe Giallombardo directed “PDKlosed,” another film that starred Johnny Defilippis. The main joke of the film was that “the world at UD would end if PDK closed.” The movie opened with Raj Luthra’s arrest for tax evasion. It then flashed forward to 10 years later; UD and Old Mill had been separated and Old Mill had been transformed into an apocalyptic wasteland with no food, water or electricity.

Next came “The Bachelor,” directed by Maria Jose Herrera. In a UD parody of the popular TV show by the same name, Jack Friddle must decide which woman will get her MRS Degree. In this version of “The Bachelor,” with the contestants played by Mary Trinko, Beatrice Bloch, Annie Zwerneman, Karen Bless and Brigid Callahan, Majo beautifully framed a typical UD situation, in which multiple women fall deeply in love and fawn profusely over the same guy, who then decides not to marry any of them but to go to the seminary.

The eighth film was “Fratpocalypse,” directed by Joseph LiMandri. With the Frat playing a role similar to Orwell’s Big Brother, this short adequately expressed UD anxieties over the potential frat’s influence upon the UD tradition through a hilarious inversion of UD laws and customs. For example, in the film, if students did not have alcohol in their rooms or if they made good grades on tests, they were fined and convicted of treason against the Frat.

According to the renowned and esteemed judges, Fr. Thomas, Dr. Olenick, Dr. Jodziewicz and Dr. Swietek, the three winning films were “Long Story Short” in third place, “The Doorman” in second place and “The Bachelor” in first place. In addition to Oscaresque figurines given to all the winners, the third-place winner was given a Lego Hobbit Set; the second-place winner was given a little girl’s tricycle; and the first-prize winner was given a tent with a “magic” mixer (a glorified blender).

 

The first (and only foreign) film to grace the screen was Timothy Nguyen’s “Long Story Short.” In the film, Tim goes to pick up his little cousin, who insists that Tim tell him a story. Tim then begins the story of Bonaventure

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