2017 Tri-Co Film Festival

The Sixth Annual ​Tri-Co Film Festival ​was a held on May 4, 2017.

Directors: Harlow Figa and Sarah Moses • Jurors: Sally Berger and Stephen Winter

Poetic Storytelling
Morrison Gong for Eros Diary

Poetic Storytelling Honorable Mention
Van Le forThoughts out of Season

Holden Blanco for Sousedi

Honorable Mention
Jesse Cason for Samara

Creative Non-Fiction
Connor Cassidy for Puerto Rico == Colony

Creative Non-Fiction Honorable Mention
Saket Sekhsaria for ACE

Audience Favorite
Forrest Reid for Hardwork Movement – On the Rise


Sally Berger

The selection of films for this year’s Tri-Co Film Festival was outstanding: Each film has a distinct point of view, and offers a unique perspective and creative approach. It is enlightening to see and hear stories that are local to the tri-college area and Pennsylvania, personal and intimate about being a college student and coming of age, and explore identity and cultural backgrounds – all in ways that reflect out more universally. The ability to look at life with humor as well as gravitas radiates through the films.” — Sally Berger

Sally Berger
Sally Berger. Photo: Wanyi Yang HC ’20

Sally Berger is a film and media curator, lecturer, and writer whose work focuses on the relationships between experimental film and media installation; nonfiction and fiction film; and documentary film and art. She is currently a Fellow at the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University. At The Museum of Modern Art, where she worked from 1986 – 2016, she was a Curatorial Assistant and Assistant Curator in the Department of Film, and Director/co-founder of Documentary Fortnight, an international festival of nonfiction film featuring contemporary trends in nonfiction film/media.

Stephen Winter

It’s great to let go of your everyday life and jump into the world of a person with a plan. That’s how I felt while reviewing all of your films. I didn’t know exactly where I was, I didn’t know any of the players involved, but every time I got to the destination I always felt satisfied. So, great work! Always question the system and try to make it better. Support local music and independent film. Tell your stories.” — Stephen Winter

Stephen Winter

Stephen Winter is an award-winning filmmaker who has worked with Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, John Cameron Mitchell, Gus Van Sant, Steve Harvey, John Krokidas, David France, Xan & Zoe Cassavetes and Queen Latifah. Stephen’s 2015 film Jason and Shirley, which he wrote and directed, was called “one of the year’s finest” by Richard Brody in The New Yorker, played AGO in Toronto and had a sold-out 2 week run at MoMA in New York. He was schooled at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago.

2017 Awards

selected by Sally Berger and Stephen Winter, presented by Sally Berger:

The award for Poetic Storytelling goes to Morrison Gong for Eros Diary. “If you don’t have the best of everything, make the best of everything you have. Then dig if you will, Eros Diary, which shows us, once again, love is the most transforming power in the world – it changes enemies to friends then back again.” The award for Narrative goes to Holden Blanco for Sousedi. “An elderly man’s soothing daily rituals are interrupted by loud funky music being played in an upstairs apartment. The details of his simple life are carefully documented, as are the actions he takes to put an end to his neighbor’s rude behavior. Careful camera placement, precise visual and sound editing, an economy of scenes, and a comedic twist, make this short drama very precious.” The award for Creative Non-Fiction goes to Connor Cassidy for Puerto Rico == Colony. “This documentary on the 20th Century history of Puerto Rico uses an inventive mix of archival film and photographic images to explore the forces at work in the American colonization of the island. It is a tour de force of strong research, editing and storytelling.” The award for Audience Favorite goes to Forrest Reid for Hardwork Movement – On the Rise.

Honorable Mentions were presented to:

Van Le forThoughts out of Season. “A coming of age story that is at once personal, philosophical, and poetic, Thoughts Out of Season provides a classic meditation on the Asian imaginary, Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil, and the passage of time, life and memory.” Jesse Cason forSamara. “In Samara, we see a low-key, but high stakes battle of desire, will and dreams. In the end, the winner is art.” Saket Sekhsaria forACE. “One of the most important aspects of excellence in filmmaking is the power of surprise: Second to that, conviction. Take your ideas, go all the way, then beyond. Never shirk responsibility to deliver the goods. That’s the joy and heat of ACE.” Prizes this year included a one-year membership to International House Philadelphia’s Lightbox Film Center, courtesy of Robert Carnigi Mitchell, three one-year memberships to the Scribe Video Center, four sets of two tickets to see movies at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, four$200 credits towards a crowdfunding campaign on Seed&Spark, and three 1 TB hard drives. This year’s festival also debuted a new logo, designed by Jessie Lamworth, Haverford College ‘18. The 2017 Tri-Co Film Festival was made possible by: The Film & Media Studies Department at Swarthmore College,the Film Studies Program at Bryn Mawr College, the John B. Hurford ‘60 Center for the Arts and Humanities at Haverford College, and The Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Gratitude was expressed to Valerie Temple and Mike McCracken at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute; to this year’s faculty advisor, Vicky Funari; to James Wessinger, Kerry Nelson, and Noemí Fernandez at the Hurford Center; and to the student representatives from the Tri-Co: Kevin Medansky, Pavan Kalidindi, and Anushka Robinson.

Download the Press Release

Directors’ Sidebar

This year’s festival also debuted a Directors’ Sidebar, which included the first-ever multimedia project to be featured by the Tri-Co Film Festival. This multimedia installation, entitled Exposing Forces of Oppression: Marginalized Bodies and The Construction of The (Pre-) Criminal,by Isabella Siegel, Anya Bernhard, Reid Cohen, Hope Ebert, and Adam Stambor, was on display at Haverford College’s Woodside Cottage from 12-5pm on Friday, May 5th, and was visited by Sally Berger, Harlow Figa, and Sarah Moses.

The Director’s Sidebar also included three student films that were not programmed to screen at the festival, representing students from each of the three schools and highlighting the diverse media genres being explored in the Tri-Co:

Intervention – Cody McElhinny (Swarthmore)
A narcissistic patient plays therapist when another patient shows up for his appointment. Absurdity ensues…

Pull the String, Gently – Courtney Lau (Haverford)
Inspired by Ariana Gerstein’s Close the Lid, Gently, this film illuminates the crowded and chaotic fictions of a lonely girl.

Planet Goose – Emily Schalk, Ben Harowitz (Bryn Mawr and Haverford)
A breathtaking look at the fascinating life of the Canada goose. Prepare to see geese as never before!

Programmed films

ACE – Saket Sekhasaria
A game of cards where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

PUERTO RICO == COLONY – Connor Cassidy
A reflection on the history and atrocities of Puerto Rico’s colonialization.

Cuckoo – Katie Rodgers
My friend has been abducted by aliens. They gave her back but now I miss her a lot.

Sousedi – Holden Blanco
A grumpy old man is rudely disturbed by an upstairs neighbor as he tries to enjoy his morning routine.

Welcome to The Stand – Caleb Eckert
Three vignettes from The Lancaster Stand, a nonviolent mass action resistance encampment created by Lancaster County, PA residents organizing against the shale gas Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

A short documentary about Noami Amedi, an artist residing in Jerusalem, Israel who discovered art as a way to grieve the tragic death of her daughter. She now finds upliftment in painting and a way to connect to with the rest of the world and her daughter as well.

Sleep – Kyungchan Min
A film about self-care and immigration. Sleep documents the stressful balancing act of maintaining a life and gaining citizenship during the Trump era.

Public Heart – Claudia Romano
Two female public artists in Philadelphia describe what the importance of public art means to them. Although they practice radically different kinds of public art, the similarities between how they conceptualize public art are apparent.

Eros Diary – Morrison Gong
This frankly explicit film investigates the ecstasy, intimacy, and ambivalent emotions of sex and how it both does and doesn’t connect two people from different ethnic backgrounds.

S-Chords: An A Capella Documentary – Holden Blanco
The S-Chords are one of eight a Cappella groups at Haverford College. This film follows the chain of events leading up to the S-Chords’ performance.

nada – Marcelo Jauregui-Volpe
Nada is a sensory and immersive exploration about my experiences with water growing up.

EVS – David Molina Cavazos
EVS explores the relationship between EVS techs and the students at Swarthmore. It focuses on Rebecca and Ursula, two EVS techs working on different sections of campus, and their varied interactions with students.

Hardwork Movement – On the Rise – Forrest Reid
A fun, high-energy take on the process of a Philly-based rap group’s journey to the top! Inspired by Spike Jonze’s music video for Drop by the Pharcyde, this short film plays on the magic of shooting a video in reverse.

SWISHER – Tiye Pulley
A glimpse into the lives of young black men dealing with the racial trauma of police brutality.

Samara – Jesse Cason
A young girl longs to celebrate Halloween.

Thoughts out of season – Van Le
An essay-film on (dys)synchrony in narrative and in nature.

Vector & Me – Cole Sansom
Strange posters begin to appear on Haverford’s campus. I investigate.