Annika Dyczkowski ’25
The 11th annual Trinity Film Festival is Saturday, May 6th, and in celebration, the Tripod had the opportunity to sit down and discuss the event with Cecelia Morello ’24 and Marilyn Brach ’24, co-coordinators for the Film Festival.
Morello is a double major in psychology and public policy and law. In addition to being a Student Director responsible for the festival’s event coordination, she is also a co-captain for the Trinity Equestrian team. Brach is also a double major in economics and public policy and law, working as a Submissions Coordinator responsible for festival communications; she is also a Chapel Singer and Student Volunteer Coordinator at Cinestudio. As a Student Director, Morello oversees the front-of-house staff, day-to-day festival plans, volunteers, and the creative team. As a Submissions Coordinator, Brach works closely with the communications team and does external work communicating with interested filmmakers and screening potential films.
Brach joined as a co-coordinator of the Trinity Film Festival (TFF) in her sophomore year. She says she wanted to co-coordinate the festival because the event is particularly unique to Trinity, “you don’t see a lot of other colleges offering this kind of event.” She also likes the message the festival promotes, saying that it “gives young undergrad filmmakers a platform they wouldn’t have had otherwise, [which] is the community we try to foster at [the] TFF.”
Morello agrees with Brach and concurs that out of the dozens of other schools she toured before committing to Trinity, none of them had a film festival. “One of the only things I remember about my tour was the TFF, and I knew I wanted to be involved from the moment I stepped on campus”; unfortunately for both co-coordinators, their freshman year was disrupted by Covid. Morello describes how Covid made it difficult to make commitments and attend events on campus. “[The festival] was one of the only in-person events for the entirety of my freshman year. It wasn’t as exciting as it usually is, but it was still really fun to see hard work pay off at the end of the year.” By sophomore year, Covid restrictions were lifted, and she was convinced she needed to be involved again. “I didn’t go abroad this spring to work on the festival. [The festival] means a lot to me, and I jumped at the opportunity.”
The TFF is an annual event which was founded in 2012 by John Michael Mason, current cross-country and track coach and film department professor. His class, Film Aesthetics and Practice, screens, discusses, and chooses films that are screened at the TFF; the class ultimately chooses about two dozen films that are shown at the festival. In 2021, Morello describes the virtual comeback of the festival following Covid. “It was a Zoom call festival.” They offered a food truck for Trinity students and faculty to bring the festival atmosphere back to campus, and no student filmmakers were invited due to Covid restrictions. “One of the biggest draws of the festival is getting to talk to student filmmakers, so [their absence] was very different and weird.”
The TFF has a faint crossover with the Film Studies Department, as previously described through Mason’s class; however, most of the student committee of the TFF is comprised of non-film studies students. Brach delineates that majoring or minoring in Film Studies is “not central to being a part of the TFF planning committee, [because] we try to make it accessible to everyone.” Morello shares that her initial concern as a freshman not studying film was that she would not be accepted, but soon found that “it is by no means necessary, the majority of the team is not in film studies.”
Brach and Morello share that the festival is primarily student-run with help from John Michael Mason, founder of the TFF, and Joe Barber, an employee of the Community Service and Civic Engagement Office. The festival committee is comprised of three, student-run branches: communications, event coordination, and the creative team.
Members of the TFF recognize that they have a platform to further anti-racism in their community; one prize awarded at the festival is the BIPOC Excellence in Film Award, which is granted to a filmmaker who is a member of the BIPOC community. Morello concludes that they “wanted to introduce the award to increase submissions of BIPOC filmmakers so their stories can be told and shown on the big screen because we recognize that is very important.”
To students who are interested in attending, Brach simply affirms that “it’s a great event.” Both co-coordinators state that there are not usually as many students as they would like to attend, mostly because students are unfamiliar with the event. Brach emphasizes the importance of being surrounded by peers and different experiences exhibited in film “to see people [our] age who are making and creating and having their work showcased at cinestudio.” Morello continues, concluding that the event is also a “fun excuse to dress up and take fun pictures at the red carpet before the screening.” “We dress to impress,” Brach laughs. To offer support, students can donate their meal swipes on April 27th, which will contribute to the filmmaker prize money. Coordinators will also be promoting the festival at the Green Fest on April 16th and the Samba Fest on April 22nd.
Trinity students are eligible to submit films, in addition to students across the globe. Brach shares, “We have a diverse group of schools submitting to TFF from California to New York. We have over 100 submissions currently.” She also mentions international submissions from countries like China and India. The TFF takes submissions through Film Freeway at https://filmfreeway.com/TrinityFilmFestival, and further information on the event can be found at trinfilmfestival.com. If you are interested in submitting, attending, or working for the festival, you can contact either Morello or Brach at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on merchandise giveaways and further festival information, you can follow @trinityfilmfestival on Instagram. Brach concludes with a smile, “come to TFF May 6th!”
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