Montclair State Alumni Dom Lampasona: A Brilliant Filmmaker

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Published November 28, 2022
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The Montclarion
After graduating in 2019, Don Lampasona made Montclair State University's filmmaking program proud by becoming an award-winning filmmaker.

Dom Lampasona is an alumnus of the filmmaking program at Montclair State University. Since his graduation in 2019, he has gone on to win several awards for his work. He and his team of other Montclair State alumni have been producing films since the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had [a] fascination with filmmaking, acting and storytelling itself, and I always gravitated especially [toward] pen and paper,” Lampasona said. “I was always telling stories.”

Lampasona describes himself as a self-taught filmmaker who was anxious to start learning about filmmaking because he had grown up with it all his life. Being thrown into the deep end during his freshman year is exactly how Lampasona found what he loves.

“I never felt more at home, to be honest,” Lampasona said. “Everyone had the same interests and same passions.”

Lampasona developed a love for screenwriting before easing into the directing aspect of films. During his junior and senior years, he was able to focus on the particular areas he wanted to pursue.

“Everyone picks their roles and titles they want to pursue [in Montclair State’s film program],” Lampasona said.

Now, working with other Montclair State alumni, his sets have become a collaborative space for people to come together.

Lampasona’s most recent short film titled “The Morning Breeze” was shot in April 2021. The film is a sci-fi drama about a young man who loses his sister due to suicide and becomes powerless as he mourns. As the young man battles his mental illness, he is given the opportunity to be the subject of a new transcending scientific experiment offered by a genius-level physicist. Together, they emerge into a parallel universe.

The film took five days to shoot, with most of the crew being Montclair State alumni.

“It was the biggest thing I produced to this date,” Lampasona said.

“The Morning Breeze” was the first film Lampasona and his crew jumped on after lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because this film was shot in April 2021, Lampasona and his crew were following COVID-19 protocols that all film sets had to follow. He wrote this film during the lockdown and said writing for this film felt authentic and therapeutic.

The film has been entered into 10 film festivals in New Jersey, New York, Florida and Georgia. At the New York International Film Awards, in New York City and the Grove Film Festival, in Jersey City, “The Morning Breeze” won Best Short Film. At the Northeast Film Festival in Teaneck, this film won Best Short Film as well as Best Lead Actor. In Milledgeville, GA, Lampasona won best Sci-Fi Short Film. Also, this film was a finalist at the Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival.

Lampasona is the producer of all the films he works on. He works with a tightly-knit crew of Montclair State alumni, including Dylan Tollefson and Lindsay Taylor.

Filmmaking professor Roberta Friedman describes Lampasona as a serious and committed filmmaker with a great sense of humor.

“The folks at his internship loved him,” Friedman said.

Karl Nussbaum, who was Lampasona’s advisor and professor, was always involved in helping Lampasona. Nussbaum described Lampasona as good-natured and jovial, and also gave insight into another aspect of Lampasona’s life.

“I’d say, he started off slow but got better,” Nussbaum said. “I remember, as his advisor, we had to schedule everything around baseball practice.”

Lampasona’s other films include “Bestseller” and “Kickstart My Heart.” “Bestseller” is a thriller telling the story of a novelist named Mason Miles who discovers his father has gone missing. He is sent on a manhunt that could lead to him uncovering his father’s disappearance. “Kickstart My Heart” is a love story that follows a criminal named Mike and his partners. The way they “rob” people is by pickpocketing. Desperate for a big score, one of Mike’s partners find a target, but the target is Mike’s childhood crush.

Both “Bestseller” and “Kickstart My Heart” are available to watch on Lampasona’s website, domlampasona.com. “The Morning Breeze” is not available yet on his website, but the trailer is available.

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