17 March 2023 HWS Films Premiere at Geneva Festival

Tyler Stimpson ’23 and digital learning team member Casey Puccini premiered short films at the Geneva Downtown Film Festival.

The second annual Geneva Downtown Film Festival, hosted at The Smith Opera House this February, featured 18 short films selected by a jury from around the world. HWS filmmakers and participants included Tyler Stimpson ’23 and digital learning team member Casey Puccini.

Stimpson won the “audience’s choice” award for his independent short film, “Dreaming.” Using the conceit of a dream sequence, the film follows a young man at a crossroads grappling with his identity, relationships and future. Filmed on campus and at locations throughout Geneva, N.Y., it stars Anthony Bray ’23, Gabriela Nieves ’23 and Derrielle Faulkner ’25.

“I was proud of myself,” Stimpson says. “I started creating this film for the sole purpose of an independent study; however, to see it get to this point on screen with a live audience including my close friends and family was the biggest takeaway for me.”

Stimpson’s independent study was guided by Assistant Professor of Media and Society Jiangtao Harry Gu ’13. Over the course of the semester, he improved his technical skills and explored new filming techniques.

“I used Davinci Resolve, which is an editing software used to figure out the best settings for both the camera and microphone,” Stimpson says. “I also focused on writing the script, working with actors, filming the project and doing all of the post-production work.”

At the Colleges, Stimpson is a media and society major. He says experiential learning opportunities, such as a trip to the Toronto Film Festival, and coursework have been influential in developing his voice as an artist as he explores his craft.

“My courses in media and society have been the key in giving me the skills to screenwrite, experiment in cinema, and understand what goes into the branding and creation of my own independent film,” he says.

Stimpson says showing his work at the Geneva Downtown Film Festival feels like a springboard for new opportunities.

“In addition to this great exposure, it has immensely boosted my self confidence in terms of applying for jobs,” Stimpson says, “Now, as I apply for jobs in my chosen field, I have the chance to expand my portfolio and display my talent and experience through this amazing opportunity.”

Puccini presented his independent short film, “I Don’t Know When the Armageddon Is,” inspired by an outdoor trip taken with his family in Rochester, N.Y.   

“Most of the work I make is me playing myself in a semi-real, career-enthusiasm scenario, where I am constantly an unsuccessful filmmaker,” Puccini says. “I have had the opportunity to attend a variety of festivals, including the Sun Dance Slam dance, and Chicago International/Underground Film Festivals, where I was able to accompany on other films, as well as work on and showcase my own.”

On March 9, Puccini screened his feature-length film, “Children Without Parents,” in the Fish Screening Room at the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts, followed by a Q&A. The event was part of the “KINO FISH Weekly Film Screenings,” hosted by the Department of Media and Society.

In the photo above, Assistant Professor of Media and Society Jiangtao Harry Gu ’13, Tyler Stimpson ’23 and Anthony Bray ’23 gather for a photo in the Smith Opera House during the Geneva Downtown Film Festival.