Students transform the Film Festival into a virtual “Une Nuit À Paris”


Georgia Ferguson '20

The Sacred Heart Film Festival turned virtual for two nights of celebrating Sacred Heart filmmakers, April 16 and April 17.

The Sacred Heart Greenwich community gathered through YouTube and Zoom Video Communications to celebrate the films of Sacred Heart students, April 16 and April 17 at 7 p.m.  Due to COVID-19, the eleventh annual Film Festival turned virtual this year, but still managed to showcase the work of student filmmakers.  Broadcast Journalism teachers and students from the Real World Film-making, Creative Film-making, Today from the Heart, and Beginner Broadcast Journalism classes organized “Une Nuit à Paris” for the whole Sacred Heart community to enjoy.

Film Festival hosts, seniors Sophia Georgas, Clementine Marcogliese, Daniella Tocco, and Piper Van Wagenen, and Film Festival Co-Chairs, seniors Olivia Andrews and Gabby Petrizzo, have been planning the event since May 2019.

The virtual Film Festival presented over 30 films by Sacred Heart students in four categories, Public Service Announcements (PSA), Documentaries, Creative, and Experimental films.  Clementine hosted the Documentary category,  Sophia hosted the PSA category, Piper hosted the Experimental category, and Daniella hosted the Creative category.

The judges this year included Mr. David Gioiella, the judge of the Creative category, Ms. Jacqueline Jones, the judge of the Experimental category, Ms. Gabrielle Schonder, the judge of the Documentary category, and Ms. Diana White ’12, Sacred Heart alumna, was the judge of the PSA category. 

Film Festival judges Ms. Gabrielle Schonder, Ms. Jacqueline Jones, Ms. Diana White ‘12, and Mr. David Gioiella.  Dylan Drury ’22

Mr. Gioiella is a founding partner of the editorial and finishing shop Northern Lights, the design studio Mr. Wonderful, audio boutique SuperExploder, and the bi-coastal Emmy Award-winning content creation studio BODEGA.  Along with the Northern Lights Agency, Mr. Gioiella collaborates with networks, agencies, and brands to tell moving and effective stories on screens of all sizes.  The Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Lions, and The One Show has recognized some of Mr. Gioiella’s work.

Ms. Jones works as a Production Manager for Blue Sky Studios.  In 2019, she partnered with the film’s producers and directors to create a production game plan for more than 500 employees while working on an animated feature film, Spies in Disguise, starring Mr. Will Smith and Mr. Tom Holland.

Ms. Schonder is a producer and reporter for The Kirk Documentary Group, and the investigative documentary series, Frontline, on The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  Prior to working for Frontline, Ms. Schonder made investigative pieces at 60 Minutes and reported with Mr. Anderson Cooper, journalist and author,  Mr. Scott Pelley, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) News anchor, Mr. Steve Kroft, American journalist, and Mrs. Lesley Stahl, reporter for CBS’s 60 Minutes.  Ms. Schonder has also worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) cold case unit while working for 48 HOURS to work on the 1960’s civil rights murders in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Ms. White is the Manager of Member Services and Events for the Producers Guild of America East, where she works with various different studios to arrange screenings and events of films.  Ms. White graduated from Bucknell University, where she studied Film and Media Studies, Arts Entrepreneurship, and Dance.  Ms. White worked as the assistant to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Romulus Entertainment, where she received production credit for films such as Apple TV+’s THE BANKER, Roadside Attractions’ American Woman, and Universal Pictures’ DRIVEN

The PSA and Documentary category films were shown April 16, at 7 p.m. through a YouTube video, and at 8 p.m. there was a live awards ceremony.  Hosts Clementine and Sophia, and judges Ms. Schonder and Ms. White presented the awards. 

“I was so moved by the documentary category.  All of the films were so well thought out – from the topics, to the story structure, and shots,” Ms. Schonder said.  “The topics were so diverse and interesting.”

The official trailer of the eleventh Annual Film Festival.  Courtesy of “Sacred Heart Virtual Film Fest Trailer 2”

In the PSA category, We Need Change. Period., by senior Christine Guido,  and sophomores Catriona Marangi and Delaney Servick won second place.  Safe Rides, by senior Gabby Petrizzo and junior Isabel DeVita won first place. 

In the Documentary category, No No Boy, by Isabel won second place, and Heartsong, by Daniella and Isabel won first place.

The Experimental and Creative entry films, along with the senior tribute video, were shown April 17 at 7 p.m., and the live awards ceremony at 8 p.m.  Piper and Daniella, and judges Ms. Jones and Mr. Gioiella presented the awards live to Sacred Heart students over Zoom.

In the Experimental category, The Now, by senior Lily DeConcini won second place, and Dream Sequence by sophomore Elisa Taylor won first place. 

In the Creative category, Figment, by sophomore Isabella Stewart won second place, and Whatever It Takes, by sophomores Alex Hannett and Elisa won first place.

After the end of each night, the hosts asked the virtual Film Festival audience to vote for their favorite films over text message.  In the PSA category, Mountain by junior Cecilia Duncan won the Audience Choice Award.  Knot on my Planet, by seniors Georgia Ferguson, Kate Murray, and Clementine won in the Documentary category.  Senior Paige Pucel won in the Experimental category for her film Be Different.  In the Creative category, Caged Bird, by Lily and Olivia Andrews won the Audience Choice Award.

Isabel, who had three winning films, reflected on the first ever virtual Film Festival.

“I loved watching the film festival at home with my family. It is obviously still a bit sad because the film festival is something I look forward to all year, but I think the virtual film festival was amazing,” Isabel said. “The film festival heads, the hosts, Ms. Stewart, and Mr. Pisani did a great job organizing it and making sure everything went smoothly.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Georgia Ferguson ’20