2015 Tri-Co Film Festival

The 4th Annual Tri-Co Film Festival was on May 7, 2015.

Directors: Hilary Brashear and Dani Ford • Jurors: Robert Cargni and Irina Leimbacher

Award for Creative NonFiction
Family Affair by Dawit Habtemariam

Award for Poetic Storytelling
Creation by Jing Ma

Award for First Person Filmmaking
My Sister Swallowed the Zoo by Maya Zhang and Zhujun Bamboo Ding

Audience Award
My Sister Swallowed the Zoo by Maya Zhang and Shujun Bamboo Ding

Press Release

The 4th Annual Tri-Co Film Festival was the largest one yet, as over 160 guests filled the theater at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute last Thursday, May 7st. The 16 recent works by filmmakers from Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges represented a wide variety of voices, genres, and aesthetic techniques, and together formed a dynamic and compelling program.

This year, the festival was organized by Hilary Brashear HC ‘14 and Dani Ford BMC ‘13 and programmed and juried by Robert Cargni Mitchell, Director of the Arts at International House and Irina Leimbacher, film scholar and professor at Keene State College. From the over 60 submissions received they created a powerful and diverse show. The full program is listed below.

After the screening, the festival juror, Robert Cargni, recognized the impressive nature of every selected piece before presenting three awards:

An award for “Creative Non Fiction” for FAMILY AFFAIR by Dawit Habtemariam for its compelling use of historical archival images which it combines with found sounds and contemporary footage to commemorate a very dark period of American history which is still felt today. FAMILY AFFAIR reminds us of the ease with which a dominant group normalizes the most inhumane of actions, to the point of making it into a “family affair.”

An award in “Poetic Storytelling” for CREATION by Jing Ma for its reflection how one both tells and shows stories, and its use of silences, editing, and metaphor as it evokes an unexplained event and the filmmaker’s response to it.

An award in “First Person Filmmaking” for MY SISTER SWALLOWED THE ZOO by Maya Zhang and Zhujun Bamboo Ding for its use of still and moving images and a simple conversation in its excavation of a complicated family history and a troubling mother-­daughter dynamic. Avoiding all sentimentality, the filmmaker uses images and language with restraint while conveying the pain that parents can sometimes cause.

Festival attendees also weighed in: after their ballots were counted, the film MY SISTER SWALLOWED THE ZOO also won the “Audience Award.”

Founded in 2012 by Professor Erica Cho, the Tri-co Film Festival once again demonstrated the high ­quality of experimental, documentary, narrative, animation, and found footage films being produced across the tri­-college community.

The festival was made possible by the generous support of the Film and Media Studies Department of Swarthmore College, the Film Studies Department of Bryn Mawr College, the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities of Haverford College, and in partnership with the Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

Festival Program

  • A Dedicated Film Student (Alexandria Wang 2:10)
    A woman’s fate lies in another’s creative process.
  • My Sister Swallowed the Zoo­ (Maya Yu Zhang and Zhujun Bamboo Ding 10:01)
    An ordinary phone call between a mother and a daughter reveals their feelings about the other’s choices.
  • Windchimes ­(Atena Jeretic and Nick Gandolfo-­Lucia 1:14)
    A pursuit of lightness of the eye and of the ear. This film documents the movement of fabrics in the wind.
  • Family Affair (Dawit Habtemariam: 8:49)
    This haunting film showcases the joy families and friends took from a dark ritual in American history.
  • Camouflage ­(Joan Huang: 1:59)
    A cuttlefish can’t seem to fit in.
  • Passing: The Girl in the Mirror (Elizabeth Gonzalez 3:23)
    This film explores a routine morning of a young Latina woman and her efforts to make herself appear “whiter”than her true complexion or hair would suggest.
  • Appetite ­(Jing Ma 1:51)
    Sex or love? Or simply lust?
  • The Message (Grant Torre: 1:02)
    This music video explores the dangers of technology.
  • My Life and the Times of Mr. Messado (Nick Gandolfo­-Lucia, Ryan Gooding, David Roza: 10:12)
    Mr. Messado is the best magician in Philadelphia, but who is the man behind the magic, and is his past as pleasing as his performance?
  • Powrót ­(Sara Symoczko: 7:00)
    A young woman returns to her home country and confronts the fantasies of childhood memory.
  • Creation (Jing Ma: 4:01)
    A scar, and the memory of the accident, are transformed into a story of the creation of a painting.
  • Dancing Zebra (Abby Holtzman: 5:19)
    A fashion designer’s upcoming show will be a triumph of hardship over creativity.
  • How the Devil Laughs ­( Farah Al-Yaqout: 5:09)
    An investigation unravels a complex conspiracy behind the recent murders of people of color in the U.S.
  • The Spinning Wheel (Ditiya Ferdous: 6:01)
    In this spooky and surreal film, an unassuming art student’s body is sucked into an eerie world of blood and beauty.
  • T (Harlow Figa 10:00)
    This documentary shows the filmmaker’s journey towards realizing their gender identity and deciding to begin testosterone injections.
  • Thought to Free ­(Justin Sui: 4:11)
    An animated manifestation of Justin’s personal utopia.