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BMFI Hosts First Tri-Co Film Festival

The festival featured work from Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore colleges.

’s screens glowed Wednesday night with the debut Tri-College Film Festival, featuring work created by the students at Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges.

Awards were given for Best Coursework Film and Best Senior Project, with honorable mentions in each category.

Festival director Erica Cho, who teaches video production at Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges, brought in acclaimed programmer Chi-hui Yang as a guest curator (not present) to choose the winning films and curate the first part of the festival’s program, “Examined Lives & Excitable Encounters,” which included films developed in a variety of production classes by students at all three colleges. 

Of the 36 student submissions, only 10 were shown. They ranged from a comic look at a student who volunteers to pose nude for an open studio art session (“Nude”, directed by Bryn Mawr’s Rhianna Shaeen and Haverford’s Indong Sul) to a documentary about how two Egyptian Americans were impacted by the Egyptian Revolution (“BeLonging”, directed by Haverford’s Caileigh Feldman). Swarthmore junior Sarah Kim received an honorable mention for “junesday”, the intimate reflections of a Chinese American college student.

In addition to the 10 short films submitted by students, the festival also highlighted seven senior projects, six from Swarthmore College students and one from Haverford College.

The senior projects were similarly diverse, from Honorable Mention “Honey and Trombones”, an impressionistic look back at a relationship directed by Swarthmore’s Tayarisha Poe, to “Marchers on Blair Mountain” a documentary directed by Zein Nakhoda about a march organized to protect a West Virginia mountain from Mountain Top Removal coal mining.

“Discovering Albert”, the winner of the Best Coursework Film award, was also an audience favorite. Created by Haverford College’s Carl Sigmond, Gebby Keny, and Vanessa Douglas, the 10-minute documentary paints a portrait of Sigmond’s grandfather, who discovered streptomycin—the first effective cure for tuberculosis—but never received credit for the Nobel Prize-winning breakthrough, and how this tragic oversight has effected Sigmond’s family and his view of himself. Sigmond, a current junior, looks forward to developing the short into a feature film this summer.

Haverford College’s Jon Appel won the Best Senior Project award for his animation, “The Story of Frank”, a meditation on a lonely man’s dreams and memories. Curator Chi-hui Yang’s notes cited the “accomplished visual aesthetic” of the work, which was an adaptation of a short story written by the filmmaker. Appel learned the art of animation in acclaimed local animator Paul Fierlinger’s (My Dog Tulip) class at the University of Pennsylvania, and hopes to continue working in animation after graduation.   

An additional festival screening will take place Sunday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Haverford College’s Sharpless Auditorium. This screening will feature a few repeat films as well as previously unseen work and are open to the public.

Special thanks to Devin Wachs, public relations manager for Bryn Mawr Film Institute, for submitting this story.

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