Behind The Screams: Halloween Film Festival

By Grace Reding and Jackie Minton

On October 29th, JPCatholic students and alumni came together to support the school’s filmmakers at the Annual Halloween Film Festival. Students behind the films gave insight into their experience on set.

Transfer student James Barrows was a Production Assistant and Grip on Harvey, a student film about a man who aims to get with women, whether they are interested or not. The film was titled in light of the recent Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal. The plot turns when the main character pushes himself onto a woman who turns out to be a flesh-eating monster. Barrows said of his time on set, “I had a very positive experience. This is my second set and it’s been really great to see everyone come together and work creatively. I loved seeing Colton Machado, the director, in his element. It especially was fun working at night on the mountain top, where we filmed the scenes with the demon.” Sophomore Kristen Lavan, who played the monster in the film, commented, “Erica asked me if I wanted to be on a film shoot. When she told me that I would have no lines and prosthetic make-up, I immediately said yes. I am the worst actress in the world, but I can play a scary, demon lady.” Kristen also spoke about what it was like working with Isaac Kiedrowski, who played the main character, Harvey.  “Isaac was a really good co-star and made me feel comfortable during the awkward scenes. He is a very funny actor and I admire his work.”

kristen scary

Photo and make-up courtesy of Lana Young and Andrew Kultuniuk

Freshman Andrew Kultuniuk, an actor in Harvey, was also seen in Dead of Night, directed by Senior Nicolas Alayo. Kultuniuk shared about his experience working with the upperclassman. “As an extra, you fill in where you’re needed, in as many scenes as you’re needed, and for as many takes as you’re needed. Nic did an amazing job making the work quick and efficient for all of us. I think he’s very talented in directing all of his actors and actresses to get the results he wanted… I’d love to work with him again and continue to learn from him. His film was by far one of the best ones to be shown at the festival.”

Dead of Night is set in the 1940s and centers around a young man who returns to his old love after a year of silence. The film was a product of Lexi Lovetere’s independent study in production design. On working with Lexi, Nicolas said, “We put a lot of work into really making it feel like a 40’s film… Lexi did a fantastic job on finding pieces that didn’t draw a whole lot of attention to themselves but casually made us feel like we were actually watching an old movie.”

With approximately one hundred attendees, the event became the highest attended student film festival in the university’s history. Film entries varied in genre, ranging from comedy to horror. A total of ten films were chosen to be screened and entered in a student-voted competition . At the end of the festival, the winners were announced. Though not a halloween film specifically, Dead of Night won of the audience voted awards, and the horror trailer Eso won People’s Choice.

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Photo from Eso, winner of the People’s Choice Award

Below are links to the Halloween Film Festival entries that are posted publicly online.
Love You to Death, directed by Beth Drozda
Mother, directed by Ben Escobar
Genesis, directed by Ben Escobar