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Making their mark on the big screen

Hopeless Romantic screens on opening night at the KCFF.

When she got an email letting her know that her film, Hopeless Romantic, would be screened as part of the 15th annual Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF), Mickayla Pike, Artsci’16, felt one thing: shock. Ms. Pike, a third-year student in the stage and screen program, and her team of six created their five-minute short in 72 hours as part of the university’s Focus Film Festival. Though the film won a slew of awards, Ms. Pike says she had no idea that the organizers had submitted to the KCFF for consideration.

“The whole thing has been a bit of a whirlwind,” says Ms. Pike of her directorial debut. Hopeless Romantic tells the story of a young woman who spends her time watching romantic comedies, and then reenacting famous scenes in a bid to attract men. In one example, she reenacts a scene from Titantic at the front of the Wolfe Island ferry. Ms. Pike says she is thrilled that the film will be making its debut at the KCFF just ahead of the festival’s opening night feature.

“We are grateful just to have been included in the festival,” says Ms. Pike on behalf of her team. “We are surprised and happy, and just plan to live in the moment!”


Jargon tells the story of a man with Asperger’s syndrome. 

Jonathan Vamos, Artsci’15, feels just as thrilled to be making his debut at the KCFF with Jargon, a short film about an painter who has autism and who lives with his sister. “It means a lot,” says the fourth-year film major, explaining that while he has traditionally worked in the role of cinematographer on film projects, he stepped into the role as director for Jargon, which was also created as part of the Focus Film Festival. Mr. Vamos wrote the script during a third-year scriptwriting class. It is loosely based on his own relationship with his brother, who has Asperger’s syndrome.

While he says he has always loved film, Mr. Vamos wasn’t convinced he would make it the focus of his Queen’s education until he took a course with Robert Hyland at the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle as a first-year student. “Dr. Hyland was so passionate,” Mr. Vamos recalls. “I decided that was what I wanted to study.”

Though Mr. Vamos says he is equally interested in writing and cinematography, he says he hasn’t entirely dismissed the possibility of doing more directing. “Making Jargon was a real learning experience,” he laughs. “When we finished, my first thought was ‘I am never doing that again’ because it was so stressful. But my friends said I was a great director. I’m on the fence about what I will do next.” 


The Plan screens on Feb. 27 as part of the KCFF’s Local Shorts program. 

Stephen Trivieri, Artsci’16, and Jordan Masterson, Artsci’16, had their sights clearly set on participating in the KCFF. Three weeks before the final submission deadline, Mr. Trivieri approached Mr. Masterson about the possibility of collaborating on a dedicated project for the festival.

“I had this idea for a fun, flashy, Ocean’s Eleven-style film, but something that was serious in the way that it was made,” says Mr. Trivieri, explaining that he also wanted to create something that the student community would be able to relate to. The third-year film students quickly agreed on creating a short comedy about a man trying to retrieve a pair of boxer shorts from a woman’s house after a one-night affair. “As we started to film, people were getting more and more into it,” he recalls. “After the first day of shooting, I knew we had something good.”

In a week and a half, Mr. Trivieri says they moved their film, The Plan, from rough idea to finished film. “It blew us away,” he says of the extracurricular experience that allowed him and his team to work with a great number of motivated students from a number of disciplines.

“I think it shows that there are lots of likeminded people at Queen’s and lots that have aspirations that go beyond the textbook,” says Mr. Trivieri, who has since founded Breathe Entertainment and has plans to keep the creative momentum rolling with new projects. “All you need is a little bit of fire to get everything started.”

The 15th annual Kingston Canadian Film Festival runs from Feb. 26 until March 1 at venues around Kingston. For more information, visit the festival’s website.