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RIT Film Screenings

SoFA screenings started on Friday at RIT. Many thesis films, many shorts. There were only two actors I was interested in seeing: Ron Dufort and Jeff Miller. That's the same Ron I've been hanging out with a lot lately, and the same Jeff who is Charles's brother. I went for them, but also enjoyed a great many other films, including ones by new directors I'd met. I was even in one of the films!

I showed up on Friday and scanned the backs of heads looking for Ron. I stood in the crowded doorway of the theater where it was much darker. I arrived at the end of a live-action/animated thesis called 'Bear Hug' (by Ed Foose). And when the lights came on, I saw Ron standing right next to me in the doorway! He informed me that I'd just missed his film Athens (Carly Cerquone). And then we found somewhere to sit.

The next film on my 'to see' was one of Jeff's - 'Copyright Warfare', by Runze Zhou, and it was HILARIOUS. It got everybody laughing! The last film I saw by Runze was 'The Lead', which starred both Jeff and Ron. I really love his style, and it got better in this film. He's truly going places. If you hadn't guessed, Copyright Warfare is about video piracy. There was one scene where they showed some movies being downloaded, and the title that stuck out to me was 'The Lead' - and it even had a clip! Runze's way of sneaking Ron into the film, hahaha.

Saturday, I arrived around 1 (just in time for the lunch break), and saw an amazing thesis that included a light show, called 'Bugstep' (which you can see for a limited time on Ilana Morgan's vimeo for a limited time with the password bugwub). The light show was a one-time experience during the screening, where glowy, pulsating lights were placed around the theater that glowed like fireflys along with the ones on the screen. Splashes of colours that matched the main bugs illuminated and pulsed around the screen, and at the end (not to spoil it), the ceiling lit up with whirling colour dots, like a night club (or a roller rink). It was brilliant, though the light show did take away from the film for those of us distracted by glowy glowy things. Worth it.

'Burn the Red Curtain' by Mike McDonald came next. Very reminiscent of David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick.

'Excess Baggage' by Chantal Massuh-Fox was beautifully shot, and hits close to home. It even won an mtvU award for Biggest Tease. It was the only RIT film I've seen (in my years of attending screenings) that showed frontal nudity. Oh, and Jeff was in this one, too. Right at the beginning, IN ONLY A TOWEL. The scene started just after he'd apparently gotten between the sheets with the 20-something male lead. I saw Jeff get handsy on a young man's inner thigh O_O. One of the comments after the film was from the girlfriend of that guy, and she said they 'did a really good job of convincing me my boyfriend is gay.'

Jeff's next film 'Clementia' (by Sullivan Slentz) was pretty interesting (just watched the trailer on his vimeo, though - kinda shitty). Again, Jeff saved the show. I remember him sending me pictures from the set - his OCD bedroom ceiling mapped out with gaff tape, marking the layout of the apartment above. His first scene was so cute, all tucked into the bed, listening to the people upstairs going about their exact nightly routine- until the end, where we hear a thud, and see Jeff slowly lift the covers to cower in fear.

I was in Christina Lodato's thesis 'Here or Two Go' with my friend Jill (we were both extras). Jeff had a nice cameo right in the middle. There wasn't as much critique as I would have given it, but I still thought it turned out a lot better than the trailer made it out to look.

Sunday, I came in with a little headache that ended as a fierce headache, and I asked Ron to take me home after it ended, and I ended up crying in his car. I don't think he's ever seen me in such a state :(

The one movie I needed to see was Ron's drug addict feature film called 'An Ambulance Made of Whiskey.' Vicky Mejía-Yepes is chiefly a sound designer, but this film was EVERYTHING I'd hoped it would be and more! Ron plays a washed up writer who falls into a booze-and-drug-soaked depression. He overdoses and the ambulance ride, horrifyingly realistic (thanks to makeup, real medical equipment, and colour-correcting - but no thanks to the crappy wrist cuts), fuels a fantasy world where he falls for the triage nurse riding with him, trying to hold him still and keep him alive and conscious. Ron's the best friend I have right now, and I've lost many friends (and boyfriends) to death, so this was particularly jarring for me. I wanted to hold onto his arm as I watched him sweat and tear up and try his best to just breathe, while I myself could not.

I was surprised to see Jeff in another movie (he hadn't mentioned it) - 'Mr. Perfect' (another Runze Zhou, but not written by him). The movie could have been better, but it got its point across. Jeff was good, but he had only a bit part. He was all scruffy and manly, too.

I skipped Monday because I had to work at both campuses. And so I missed one of Ron's movies ('Waterproof' by Matthew Lees).

Ron had three movies on Tuesday, and SURPRISE, Jeff also had three!

I arrived an hour before Ron did and sat down front. I texted Ron and told him to bring a potpouri bomb or a vat of Axe body spray, because either would be better than sitting in the stench of being the only person who showered. It smelled SO BAD. After a beautiful animation by a massive fangirl, I figured out who was stinking up the place. The fangirl, who'd childishly gushed about the cutesy animations on day 1, had gotten up to talk about the lovely film she made. Then it hit me. A gargantuan waft of B.O. almost knocked my breakfast right out of my stomach. It was her. Of course it was her - she fit the bill for the stereotypical unwashed nerdy superfan, zits all around, greasy hair down to her ass, chowing down Japanese junk food which crumbled onto her filthy Dr. Who shirt. Really, a living stereotype! I've never seen them in the wild, but I remember the days of my slight involvement with Anime clubs, and their repeated meetings regarding personal hygeine. When Ron arrived, he remarked on how I was right down in it and told me to come up to the back where the smell wasn't as bad. The air really let up when she left. WHOOOOO BOY.

I also saw a music video directed by Christina Lodato, which I liked, but others had some criticisms.

Ron's first film of the day was 'Circadium' by Jesse Weeden, who also had Ron in a movie last year called 'Syrup'. The plot played backwards, scene-by-scene, attempting to be like Memento, but falling short. They had a little backwards movement right at the end, but I didn't realize they were going backwards til more than halfway through the film. I'd discussed it in the car on the way to the Lovin' Cup and said they could have done a little of the backwards movements between each scene, an idea which Ron loved and shared with the director (who was also at the Cup), as well as my other idea (for a specific scene) involving the dead guy being the first person you see in the next scene, still alive, instead of having him randomly show up wherever in the scene). They do get the chance to make it more complete, even after this screening, so I'm pretty glad I got to throw in some real input that helped the show.

'Trinity' by Wesley Knapp was NOT well-received. Personally, I loved it! I thought it was masterfully shot (Wes is chiefly a cinematographer). It's an experimental film with a subtle plot that's hard to catch, but I am pretty sure I did. And it was good! Okay, the main complaints against it were that it was self-serving (while pretty true), there were too many false endings (including running the title and credits 2/3 through), and the music didn't go with the scenes. Now, this film was mostly music. Not even foley sounds. There were about 5 lines spoken in the whole film. But one thing I loved about it was the juxtaposed music in some scenes. The false endings had me fooled a few times, but I didn't mind any of them. It did end up a big scramble, but the story was still there. Ron introduced me to Wes after the screening (yes, Ron had a small part in this, too) and I got to tell him all this and how much I thought of it like a David Lynch film. There was nothing Lynchian about it, but the feeling of thinking you get it, but not getting it, then thinking you get it, but not getting it, and figuring out something new every time you see the film. He actually said he hoped someone downright hated it, and that was the first comment he got.

The last thing to play was a show reel of a class assingment. The assignment was "Targeting an Audience" - to make a 30-second scene from an imaginary show on a real network. There were about ten of them. Ron's bit ('Mixers' by Michael Remer) was for the Food Network, where he played the host of a mixed bar drinks competition. Jeff's reels were IFC's "Former Gloria" (Christina Lodato) where Jeff had a ridiculous fake mustache and kept looking at Gloria's rack; Pivot's "Not for Profit" (Matthew Spaull), which had Jeff playing it up like Chris Lilley, Australian accent and all; and lastly "Skateworld" (Sullivan Slentz), where he played manager of a struggling roller rink, and that's the one that had everyone dying, it was so funny! Both characters in that skit were great! Justina Murray (who also starred in Here or Two Go, and was in Not for Profit) was brilliant, and she and Jeff played off each other really well.

And then we ended our night at Lovin' Cup, where we met up with Jackie and John. Jackie was having a tall beer and I said, since she missed Circadium, that if she shared her beer with Ron, he'd re-enact it for her, or at least play with his nipples (which he did for a second in the movie).

Here's the teaser for Trinity, featuring Ron and Colleen Divincenzo. Such good music.

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