The Hamptons International Film Festival was held over the weekend, and this year, festival organizers sought to inspire students and budding cinematographers by screening select films in local schools. This educational initiative also introduced students to the filmmakers who answered questions and talked about their own inspiration.
On October 5, two films were shown at Ross’s Upper and Lower School campuses. In the Court Theater at the Upper School, students watched Anosmia, a documentary short that tells the story of people who are unable to smell. The film premiered this year at the Cannes Film Festival and was featured as an Op-Doc in the New York Times.
Filmmaker Jacob LaMendola, who also suffers from this affliction, answered questions following the screening. “Was there ever a time in your childhood when you thought there was something wrong with you?” asked one student. “Yeah, definitely,” Jacob replied, recalling that the first time he knew something was amiss was when he was in fifth grade and all of his classmates could smell an odor he could not. When asked how it feels to hear others describe scents, Jacob said, “One of my favorite parts of not being able to smell is hearing how my friends describe things.”
Meanwhile, at the Lower School, students watched Dumbleweed in the Multi-Purpose Room. Set in the desert during Christmas time, Dumbleweed is a story about three tumbleweeds who overhear a young girl telling her father that she wished there were snow in the desert so that she could build a snowman. After the young girl and her father leave to get a Christmas tree, the tumbleweeds quickly assemble themselves in the shape of a snowman. However, the smallest tumbleweed, Dumbleweed, gets blown to the other side of the road and must overcome a myriad of dangerous obstacles to get back in time and surprise the young girl before she returns.
Following the screening, students asked filmmaker Natasha Khrolenko several questions, including, “What were your challenges?” and “How many steps were involved in making the film?” After the Q&A, Natasha asked one student, "Do you make movies?" to which the student replied, "No, but I'm inspired."
In addition to these screenings, students in Innovation Lab @Ross and Finite Math attended a showing of A Beautiful Mind, a biographical drama about John Nash, a Nobel laureate in economics who struggles with schizophrenia. A Q&A with Dr. Nash followed. Finally, senior Lea Winkler, sophomore Aubrey Jowers, and alumnus Dan Roe, who also works at Ross, participated in a cinematography master course with professional film producers on October 6.