On February 2 the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre played host to the eighth Annual RenderThis student film festival. RenderThis showcases films from both Brock and Niagara College. There were 11 films shown, ranging from two-10 minutes.
The varying genres were a highlight of the festival, with a little of something for everyone. Professor’s William Boehlen, Peter Lester, and Bohdan Nebesio critiqued the films and chose a winner for the $700 Jury Prize for Best Film at the end of the night. RenderThis also awarded $400 to the Audience Choice and $200 for the Runner Up. Kaleb Dortono and Matt Anderson MC’d the event and kept a light, energetic tone for the evening
The festival began with drinks and refreshments in the lobby, including a setup for pictures and a live singer. Moving into the theatre, RenderThis kicked off with Philip Robertson’s Using My Piano as a Mouse (I’m Poor Now) music video about making dumb purchases on the internet. This wacky short film began as an animation, and grew into a live action spoof. A Ride in the Dark from Alex Caucean was a romantic thriller/comedy that was shot almost completely inside of a vehicle. The film begins with a light hearted date coming to an end, divulges into a suspenseful thriller at night, and becomes a hilarious look into two people’s wildly different perspectives on where their relationship is heading. Conversation was a comedy by David Testa that had the audience in tears with its creative intro, funny premise, and may have ruined deodorant forever.
Horizon was a survival tale involving a brother and sister in a post apocalyptic world from Dan Cutajar. With a similar vibe to The Road, Horizon was a bleak story that dealt with serious subject matter, and ended in heartbreak. Descending by Brittany Lyons looked at a troubled young man battling himself over past mistakes, and trying to move forward in life.
The second half of the festival included the big winners of the night, and some of my favourite films of the evening. Three Minutes with Angie from Kevin McGuiness was a true horror film, with a classic concept, and made me jump out of my seat. Shifting tones, Yasmin Evering-Kerr brought a film celebrating black female history. Sankofa was powerful and straight out of a Kendrick Lamar music video, using a spoken word narration to highlight the history of black female excellence. Reminders was a heartfelt comedy by Paul Drotos and the Brock Improv team that combined light hearted comedy with tragedy. The film was beautifully edited and told a creative story with a sense of humour to grab the audience and judge’s hearts.
Directed by Lauren Cumpson, Insomniac is a suspenseful thriller that follows a girl dealing with the side effects of an experimental sleeping aid, with life or death consequences. The biggest surprise of the night was Cakewriter by Graham Smith. The film began with a beautiful montage of gourmet cakes, and morphed into a hilarious comedy about a man fed up with his relationship.
Mr. Lucky was the final film of the night, and must have been an absolute pain to shoot and edit. The story is told in reverse. One man’s miserable day only gets worse: directed by Jeffery Toop.
Following the final film, the judges stepped out to deliberate on their decision for the Jury Award, and the audience’s ballots were collected. After a brief intermission, the Jury Prize of $700 went to Reminders, which also won the Audience Choice Runner Up and an additional $200. Cakewriter won the Audience Choice Award and a nice $400 cheque. Executive Director, Mitch Morrone, and the rest of Brock TV’s volunteers worked to make the eighth Annual RenderThis student film festival a box office hit, and will ensure it’s growth moving forward.
-Jake Brennan, Contributor