Students explore horror and romance through foreign language

Bridget Kingston , Features Editor

Filmmaking and foreign language merged fluently during the 2015 Short Film Contest that took place throughout the week of Sept. 28. As part of College of DuPage’s Euro Film Fest, sponsored by the European Studies Committee, the contest encouraged individual students, clubs, or groups to submit two to three-minute short films in a foreign language with English subtitles. The winners were announced on Oct. 1, marking the end of the Euro Film Fest.

First place winner Spencer Blake already knew the ropes to filmmaking and foreign language when submitting his film this year; he won first place two years ago at the 2013 Short Film Contest. His film “Out of The Darkness,” spoken in German with English subtitles, grasped the viewer’s interest with a lighthearted take on the horror genre. The short film captured a man’s comedic struggle with an apparition, featuring plenty of dark alley ways, knives, and pumpkins.

“I wanted to tackle a theme like horror, especially with it being October and Halloween.” Blake said.  The entire filming and editing process only took a total of two days; three hours to shoot the footage, and another hour to edit.  A third year student at COD, Blake has been studying German for five years and intends on majoring in it after he completes his Associates Degree.

Second year student Grace Holmen took home the award for second place, with her Italian spoken short film “The Dream.” Capturing the chemistry and cliche of love at first sight in a coffee shop, Holmen threw a twist in her short film by making the main character wake up at the end, realizing his entire encounter with his ideal girl was just a dream.

Not only wanting to showcase the Italian language in her film, Holmen wanted to capture some of the true essence of Italian culture.

“My first thought when I thought of Italy was Italian coffee, which left me with ‘ok what can I do with that?’ That lead to the idea of a coffee shop, and I ended up with this idea of a cheesy coffee shop romance.” Holem said on her inspiration for the film.

Encouraged by her Italian 1101 teacher, Professor Pagnucci, Holmen wasn’t aware of the contest until two days before the deadline. She jumped at the chance anyway, spending one day working on the storyline and the script, and another day filming and editing. She studied Italian briefly in high school, and recently took it up again at COD.

Filmmaking is more of a hobby for Holmen; something she doesn’t necessarily want to major in but still enjoys doing. “I’ll definitely keep it in my back pocket,” Holmen said. “The Dream” was her first short film, as well as the first time she’s written a script and a storyline, in Italian none-the-less.

The annual COD Euro Film Fest consisted of presentations of different foreign language films throughout the week of Sept. 28, including a pre-film introduction and post-film discussion. The final film, Italian “Johnny Stecchino” was shown after the Short Film Contest winners, selected by the European Studies Committee, were announced.