On Saturday, Oct. 14, Montclair State University filmmakers gathered for the highly anticipated Silver Slate Film Festival in the School of Communication and Media. Produced by junior film and television major Peter Di Prospero, this bi-annual event has continued to provide a platform for budding filmmakers here at Montclair State to display their talents, ignite discussions, build connections and celebrate the art of storytelling through film.
Since the first Silver Slate Film Festival at the beginning of the fall 2022 semester, the event has grown into a hotbed of creativity, fostering a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among aspiring filmmakers here at Montclair State. The presentation hall was alive throughout the entire six-hour event as friends and colleagues celebrated one another’s work being shown on the big screen. Varying sounds of laughter, shock and thunderous applause after each film shook the building and served as a representation of the support that flowed throughout the room. From an audience perspective, Silver Slate felt less like a formal showing of films and more so an encouraging environment of peers, all gathered to praise each other’s hard work.
Broken up into five blocks running about an hour each, the festival showcased the short films of over twenty past and present Montclair State students. In between each block, hosts Andrew Cooper, Ella Duffy, and Danny Krastek invited the directors of the films showcased on stage to participate in a question-and-answer section about their respective films. With questions ranging from what inspired them to how the production process went, and even what advice they have for young filmmakers, the festival proved to not only be a place for current filmmakers to share their creations with colleagues but also as a resource for the next generation of filmmakers to learn how to get involved and begin creating projects of their own.
The films featured at the Silver Slate Film Festival captivate the audience with their thought-provoking narratives and exceptional cinematography. Each film told a unique story, offering audiences the opportunity to explore various themes, emotions and perspectives.
From examining social issues to showcasing personal experiences, the films provide a platform for students to address critical topics and provoke conversations. Whether it is shedding light on personal struggles in Danny Krastek’s “My Friend, The Shadow,” exploring the beauty of the mundane in Nick Dionisio’s “Weekend in Brigantine,” or delving into the complexities of human relationships in Alyssa DiPalma’s “The Things We Urn,” these films offer a glimpse into the diverse talent and perspectives of our student body. Other films featured at the festival include Ray Kleinschmidt’s “Ringoninegn,” Cristian Caamano’s “Hide & Seek,” Sean Thrunk’s “Saving Slick,” Amanda Davidoski’s “Lovesick,” David Ambrose’s “Tomorrow’s Bandits,” Hunter Dunn’s “Overnight Celebrity,” Tom Coraggio’s “Your Friendly Neighborhood Drag Queen,” Dylan Fuimo’s “Double Feature,” Izzy Love’s “The Inbetween,” Patrick McLaughlin’s “Catman,” Amber Elefante’s “Quinn’s Playlist,” Gregory Walsh’s “In The Family” and Alex Orfan’s “Willow.”
If you happened to miss this semester’s Silver Slate, then do not worry. Several of the films shown at the festival will also be featured as a part of Montclair Film Festival’s “MSU New Visions Shorts” on Friday, Oct. 27. These films include Jose Saborio’s “Con Mis Dedos,” Seth Imperial’s “Inconvenience,” Gabe Soto’s “Mirror Image,” Nick Dionisio’s “PK,” Reilly McHugh’s “Tangerine Drum Machine” and several other short films by Montclair State Students not showcased at Silver Slate.
In the words of the event’s assistant producer, Genevieve Cai, Silver Slate is “not just about the films.” Instead, “it’s about celebrating all of the really talented filmmakers here at Montclair State.” The event has become a space for students to share their passions and encourage one another to experiment in their filmmaking and creative pursuits. It brings together students from all walks of life and fosters a sense of community that extends beyond the screen. Silver Slate remains a testament not only to the power of storytelling and the role it plays in bringing people together, but to the richness of creative expression on our campus that continues to grow, thrive, and inspire the next generation of filmmakers.
As Silver Slate continues to grow with each semester it is clear how cherished it has become, showcasing emerging talent but also nurturing a community of artists who are passionate about the art of storytelling through film.