Film Students Make it to the Big Screen

Michelle Martinez

As the academic year gets ready to wrap up, SCM film students in the School of Communication and Media have been reeling in some notable achievements. 


Take one, for example, senior film student, Michelle Martinez.  Her senior thesis film “Hit Me Up” has been awarded the Carole Fielding Grant by the University Film and Video Association (UFVA). Martinez will present her film at the 71st annual UFVA Conference in Los Angeles this summer.

“My film is about a naive teenager who gets her first kiss from a boy who tries to take it further than she's prepared for, resulting in an abrupt transition from childhood to maturity,” says Martinez.  “It was filmed in February in Clifton and Englewood and the project is now in post-production.”

“Hit Me Up” is Martinez’s third directorial short film. Her previous work has screened at Montclair Film Festival: New Visions and Project FX Film Festival. Martinez’s 2016 short, “The Mourning After” will be screening at Hang Onto Your Shorts Festival in May. It was awarded "Best Concept" at Brightside Tavern Film Festival this past March. 

Take two. Project FX, the Count Basie Theatre's Statewide Student Film Festival, which is in its third year of searching for New Jersey's best and brightest student filmmakers, bestowed this year’s awards to SCM students Peter Dolshun and Alexa Werrlein, who took first and second prizes respectively.

Dolshun's "Red" earned him a Sony Digital Movie Camera, Internship Experience at Sony Pictures Classics in New York and a $1,000 cash award.  Werrlein's "Tiny Worlds" earned her a $750 cash prize.

Take three.  Peter Chapman, a freshman film student, had the opportunity to show his film “The Strings of Things” at the biannual International Video Art Festival of Camagüey in Cuba this month. Chapman’s film is a short silent film about a young man who struggles with substance abuse.

“The Strings of Things” was Chapman’s first film he made at Montclair State University, but the newcomer has not be shorted praise. Chapman’s film was also in the MSU New Visions section of the Montclair Film Festival in 2016.

Not to be undone by its students, the film program has recently received a $7,500 grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to implement a series of below-the-line workshops for filmmaking students.