BAMPFA Student Committee Film Festival
The BAMPFA Student Committee’s Student Film Festival highlights a range of compelling student-made films from Berkeley and across the Bay Area. The fourth annual film festival presents a wide variety of short films, representing a diverse range of perspectives and approaches. The assemblage of works speaks to the themes of the extremities of life, the complexities of relationships, and the process of finding and reconciling oneself with one’s identity. From personal to documentary, narrative to experimental, each of the films speaks to an introspective and creative engagement with the world, meditating on the intricacies, cruelties, and beauties of experience.
Descriptions below are slightly edited versions of those supplied by the artists.
Films in this Screening
Neil Haeems, United States, 2021
Jake S. Lilian
Conceived during the COVID-19 lockdown, the film focuses on visual storytelling to craft a simple narrative with a circular finish. Representing some of Neil Haeems’s frustrations with lockdown, it is the story of a man trying to do something incredibly simple while the world constantly gets in his way.
Eva Whitney, United States, 2021
This film is an animation of Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “Workers,” which makes a distinction between the suburbs and the city, representing the poet’s past and future. Animation is used to navigate the relationship between visual art and reality, matching the poem’s oscillation between old and new, industry and idleness, freedom and confinement.
Melissa Perez Winder, United States, 2022
This film is a documentary short situated at the needle exchange in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Unlike any other needle exchange in the country, this one is run by the San Francisco Drug Users’ Union, a group of drug users seeking to destigmatize drug use—a bold proposal for a city currently experiencing record high rates of drug overdose fatalities.
Ashley Njoroge, United States, Kenya, 2019
This film is a documentary about families living with HIV in rural Kenya. Kenya’s HIV epidemic is one of the largest in the world, with 1.6+ million people living with the virus. The Trump administration’s cuts to HIV funding and the COVID-19 pandemic have devastated many living with the virus in Kenya.
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Truly Edison, Sammy Oster, United States, 2022
This film records a performance by Sammy Oster in Ballena Bay, Alameda, California, on January 3, 2022. This piece went entirely unobserved, though many cars and people passed it by.
The Comedy Is Finished
Matthew Martinez, United States, 2021
In this film, a former child actor sets out to confront the traumas of his past before returning to show business.
Ilias Kyriakidis, United States, 2021
In this experimental short inspired by the Heider and Simmel Shapes Illusion, behaviorism in hand movements reflects human character and emotion. Themes of sexual attraction, competition, and gender hegemonies drive the narrative structure, leaving the film open to interpretation.
The Cinderella Cake
Timothy L. Quirus, United States, 2021
Timothy L. Quirus
This exploration of queer identity from childhood to adulthood considers the themes of innocence, sexuality, desire, voyeurism, and the uncertainty of COVID-19 in a kaleidoscope of technicolor memory. The film centers on both the overlooked diva Betty Hutton and a Cinderella cake topper—a desired, but never received, gendered object from childhood.
Matteo Giovannini, United States, 2020
Mrs. Robins cleans her bathroom. As she wipes the dirt and grime away, mysterious happenings haunt her, unveiling a much deeper evil. This project reflects the filmmaker’s grandmothers’ experiences as housewives in 1960s Ecuador.
Rondó en Mi
Maria Fernández, United States, 2021
This film is an experimental reflection on the male gaze and the female body. Starting with the question “Who are you?” from a lover, the protagonist explores the different possible answers. Through a consideration of the limits of time and space, she wonders what constitutes her identity, refusing to recognize herself through her body or gestures.
I Fall in Love
Chase McCleary, United States, 2021
This short animation about snails and love, set to the music of Chet Baker, was adapted from a New Yorker cartoon by Sam Gross.