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Hillel film festival features two students’ films to small crowd

The Boston University Hillel House’s presentation of the Young Filmmaker’s Showcase, which featured short films produced by students, attracted a small crowd of students and coordinators Monday night.

The first film, Cereal Killer, directed by College of Communication junior Rachel Zeidman, was a film-noir style tale of “two friends, lovers, femme fatales [discussing] the sordid details of their most recent endeavor,” according to the program for the event. The film was praised by the audience for its myopic cinematography and the elements of mystery and intrigue, though some complained that they did not really understand the point of it.

The night’s second feature, The Danger of Smoking Cigarettes, by COM graduate student Stephanie Stender, was a parody of 1960s style “edu-tainment” films. In it, a child falls into a river after her mother turns away to light a cigarette. She is swallowed by a fish, but escapes in time for the story’s moral: Don’t smoke.

CAS freshman Lizzy Nadal said she enjoyed the film because she thought it was “very interesting” and “funny.”

Because of technical difficulties, the films Private Conversation and Glassy Reality, both by Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student Guila Clara Kessous, could not be shown.

Unlike BU’s Redstone Film Festival, there were no awards given, although there was time devoted after each film for the audience to talk about what they thought. However, none of the filmmakers were on hand to discuss their work.

This was the festival’s second year, and Hillel House Director of Students Kip Lombardo said he would like to see it return next year, depending on student interest.

“This is an opportunity we have,” he said, “that we have the space, we have the media and we have room, so if students want to show their movies to their friends, then we’ll let that happen.”

The festival began last year, when several students approached Lombardo with the idea. This year, however, the student who was in charge left the school and the planning of the event was left to Lombardo. Rather than let the event die, he decided to run it himself.

Regarding the low turnout, Lombardo said, “if 10 people saw two films, then we’re able to say ‘okay,’ because a lot of the students who were here, who wanted to see films, were underclassmen … who haven’t gotten to the point where they’re going to be showing films. So they saw two films, they got an idea of what’s going on.”

Several students present said they would like to see more small events like this for student films. Nadal said she would come back for the event next year, and said “it’d be cool” if there were more small showcases for student films.

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