Vermont Arts Council

Telling Stories Frame by Frame: A Vermont State University Student Film & Video Showcase

A screenshot of a Zoom event with many participants.
Artist talk held March 8 on Zoom. View a recording of the talk.

Vermont State University’s budding filmmakers are telling stories about intercountry adoption, veterans with PTSD, a chance encounter of soulmates, the isolation of chronic illness, gender euphoria, stand-up comedians in crisis, and so much more.

We invite you to be transported into all these stories from the comfort of your home, or wherever you are now, in our virtual exhibit of short film and video projects from Vermont State University’s Cinema Studies & Production program. On VTSU’s Lyndon and Castleton campuses, students learn the art and craft of cinema in preparation for careers in advertising, communications, television production, and independent filmmaking. As the film and media industry continues to grow in Vermont, we are thrilled to showcase the talent of aspiring filmmakers learning at our State University campuses.

“Telling Stories Frame by Frame” was our featured virtual exhibit from March 1 through April 30, 2024.

Featured Films

3.20.2000 by Lily Doton | A Dark Place by Norm Murphy | Be Not Afraid by Luke McGeeDiabadass by Jacob “Gonzo” Gonzalez | Distant Memories by Brandon Burmeister | Freshman Funk by Lily Modica | Gender Euphoria by Wes SimardI Deserve to Take Up Space by Ruben Somda | Into the Forest by Maegon Courville, Cody Despins, and Madilyn Mogen | I’m Fine by Carissa ChallinorLa Movida Madrileña y Pedro Almodóvar by Molly Marcy | Metaverse by Jake Before and Cody Despins | Nostalgia by Emma Ezzo“passion” project by Jacob Ruben | Release of Shadows by Ellen Tierney | The Hack by Wm Smith | Uno by Audrey Tembreull | Welcome to the Library by Ariana Hausmann

To play a video, click the title or the screenshot. A video player will pop up on the screen.


Lyndon Campus

A Dark Place

Norm Murphy

The purpose of the film, A Dark Place, was an attempt at capturing a small part of how PTSD might affect a veteran’s life. PTSD presents itself in many ways and at many varying levels for each veteran that suffers from this condition. I wanted to create a piece that takes a viewer into the room with a veteran who suffers from PTSD and establish an emotional connection between the viewer and film’s content to bring awareness to something that isn’t always visible. The ending was to educate and encourage someone that may be suffering to be aware that help is available and that they don’t have to continue suffering alone.

About the filmmaker

After a career in the United States Army, I returned to New Hampshire to be close to my father. I attended Granite State College as a full-time student while I also worked full time as a maintenance technician for a hotel and resort. In 2017, I graduated with a BS in Business Management. Lacking local opportunities to put that degree to use, I returned to Granite State College and earned a BS in Psychology, graduating in 2021. 

Upon completing that degree program, I took a hard look at potential career paths and decided that the higher education requirements to obtain licensure would take longer than I could afford to do while supporting my family. I turned to my strengths and numerous interests for further guidance. My decision to attend Vermont State College-Lyndonville centered on the opportunity to learn skills associated with cameras, sound, and editing processes. The BS in Communications with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism provided me with those skills. As a current student in the program, I am working on my storytelling abilities to pursue a career after graduation in the Spring of 2025.

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Into the Forest

Maegon Courville ’23, Cody Despins ’23, Madilyn Mogen ’23

After the sudden disappearance of a longtime friend, a young college girl is questioned by a police officer about her strange experience in the woods.

About the filmmakers

Maegon Courville

A graduate of the Lyndon campus’s cinema program, Maegon is a native Vermonter who has a passion for photography and directing.  Her contributions to films in her tenure at Lyndon center around photography and editing.

Cody Despins

A graduation of the Lyndon campus’s cinema program, Cody is a native of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom with a passion for cinematography.  His contributions to films in his tenure at Lyndon centered around all production elements of cinematography; editing, videography, and directing.

Madilyn Mogen

Madi Mogen is a filmmaker and producer currently living in the New England area. Film, photography, and other visual media have always been interests of Madi, but her official training in those fields began when she started her journey at NVU- Lyndon. Her heavy involvement in extracurricular activities in high school helped prepare her for the fast paced and multifaceted world that is the film, TV, and entertainment industries. She graduated magna cum laude from NVU-Lyndon in May 2023 with a B.A. in Cinema Production and a A.A. in Photography. Madi placed on the Dean’s or Presidents list each semester she was at NVU-Lyndon and upon graduation received the Richard Portner Excellence in Directing and Cinematography Award. Madi is currently the Executive Assistant to the CEO of the Catalyst Story Institute and is assisting in the creation and development of the Sports Entertainment Category. She also does freelance work and is currently working as the Project Coordinator and Associate Producer on a three-part project with her former professor and mentor.

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Metaverse

Jake Before ’22, Cody Despins ’23

Breakthrough to a new MetaVerse wherein lies a new reality.

About the filmmakers

Jake Before

A graduate of the Lyndon campus’s Music Business and Industry program, Jake minored in cinema production as a way to keep his creative outlets open.  While a student at Lyndon, Jake won a student production award through the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences New England Chapter for his photography and directing work in the music video “Not to Think.”

Cody Despins

A graduation of the Lyndon campus’s cinema program, Cody is a native of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom with a passion for cinematography.  His contributions to films in his tenure at Lyndon centered around all production elements of cinematography; editing, videography, and directing.

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Release of Shadows

Ellen Tierney ’23

A piece showing the impact of memories that carry with us.

About the filmmaker

A graduate of the Lyndon campus’s Graphic Design program, Ellen dabbled in cinematography as a part of her visual arts requirements.  Her eye for composition and knack for editing earned her several awards; a second place win for her film “Release of Shadows” for the College Broadcasters Inc, and a student production award through the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences New England Chapter for her graphic arts work in the music video for “Not to Think”.

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Uno

Audrey Tembreull

An Uno game with many different characters.

About the filmmaker

I’m from Vergennes, Vermont, but if you have ever heard me in person you would know my distinct mid-western accent. That’s because my family is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan aka the UP! I have three younger brothers, who definitely keep me on my toes, especially on our family board games nights. I love a good fantasy or romantic book when I get a moment of down time. If not a book then a good video game on my Nintendo Switch. Some of my hobbies include collecting rocks, painting, and usually hanging around with my friends! I play softball too. I have been playing softball since second grade in all levels of play from varsity to travel ball. I was so excited to take my love for softball to the collegiate level!

I have always been creative since I was very young. Whether that is through drawing, painting, music, and very recently film. I knew during my college search that I wanted to continue with my creative side into a future career. I know how hard it can be to pick which creative arts to go into. With a little help from my mom, I decided to go with the film avenue. There were just so many different paths I could take and or different jobs within film that interested me. But the true reason behind me picking film was because of the fact that I would be doing the same thing in every film. Everyday would be something different. Something new, which brought me a lot of confidence in being able to create films as a career. 

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Castleton Campus

3.20.2000

Lily Doton ’23

Using the archive of photos from her childhood, Lily Doton tells the story of her adoption from South Korea and arrival in the United States.

About the filmmaker

Lily Doton is a Vermonter, a journalist, and an emerging documentary filmmaker. She has dedicated herself to storytelling across mediums through her independent filmmaking, her former positions as editor of the Castleton Spartan and editorial intern for Salon.com, and in her current role with UVM’s Community News Service. She aims to continue documenting her own experience as a woman of color and telling both the individual and collective stories of marginalized people through her work. 

Website | LinkedIn

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Be Not Afraid

Luke McGee ’23

Unbeknownst to them, Lucas and Mia are supposedly soulmates… and their lives are being broadcasted directly to heaven. As the voice of God himself counts down the hours to their fated meeting, the audience joins the angels in watching the momentous meeting of two soulmates, an event that only happens once in every millennium.

About the filmmaker

I am a filmmaker and performing artist with a passion for telling stories in unique and authentic ways.

I found this passion at a very young age, always begging my father to let me borrow his camcorder so I could film movies with my toys as the stars (voice acted by yours truly, of course).

I carry this excitement through every project I create, whether it be creating training videos for the Vermont Police Academy, capturing photography across Vermont for the Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region, or acting as social media manager for Castleton University, consistently increasing viewership and reach.

LinkedIn

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Diabadass

Jacob “Gonzo” Gonzalez ’23

Christan Michael struggles to connect with society living with type one diabetes. Reliving the trauma each day, he uses social media to escape the real world and the pressure of his mother financially helping him get his insulin. One of his favorite artists posts a video contest motivating him to create a video. He is flooded with messages the next morning and to his surprise, the only message that sparked any conversation was from a user named Sydney. This interaction sparks a relationship Christan Micheal hasn’t experienced in a long time.

About the filmmaker

My name is Jacob Gonzalez and I’m a content creator and filmmaker from Mechanicville, New York. Over the past decade, I’ve had a huge passion for entertainment and storytelling. I have been creating videos demonstrating my passion while using topics that are close to me. I’ve worked hard to learn the art behind filmmaking while focusing on bringing out emotion within my content. If I’m able to make the audience feel a certain emotion, then I’ve done my job as a filmmaker.

YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn

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Distant Memories

Brandon Burmeister

Think back to your earliest memory and try to picture it in your mind. Can you recall the emotions you were feeling, the sounds that permeated the situation, or the thoughts you had, however young you were? In this experimental piece, “Distant Memories,” I tried to capture the idea of recalling a memory so distant that you don’t remember its details, only its impression. The videos seen in the film are pictures captured years ago on my phone, spanning years of my life of which I can remember only the vaguest details, bringing them to life. The challenge came from creating a surreal look for them, as if the memory itself was reshaped and molded in your mind over years of experience, regardless of its accuracy in reality. I finally settled on using an AI picture-to-video software, Pika Labs, currently only in beta testing, with the server found on the app Discord. I plugged in each image 20 to 30 times to get the best version I could, crafting a paragraph worth of instructions for the AI to follow. It was a process of trial and error, but the end result was better than I could have expected. It was able to capture the ethereal nature of a distant memory, so distorted in your mind that it’s fantastical in imagining, yet so tangible it feels real.

About the filmmaker

As a Vermonter myself, I have grown up in the forests and mountains of this state and have been in awe of the natural world around me, something that inspires every movie I create. I am a student at VSU Castleton, a place nestled between beautiful mountainscapes, which I hike immensely. As an avid hiker, I have traveled the Long Trail and love to drive over to New Hampshire to hike the Presidential Ranges. My hobbies also include rock climbing, skiing, running, and many other outdoor sports, as it’s the place I feel most at home. I am also creative; besides film, I love to draw and paint, with my work winning art contests around the area. I’m also learning video game creation, a hobby that has consumed many of my nights. It has been hard balancing my outdoor life with my aspirations, as I hope to one day be a director in the film industry. I have this drive to create films, one that influences my everyday life, as inspirations come to me at the most random of times. I enjoy spending my days writing scripts and standing behind the camera, as there’s no better feeling than cultivating an idea into a solid piece of work. 

I want to make a career out of this drive because failure to do so would be soul-crushing, so failure is not an option. That being said, the mountains are my home, and to succeed, I may need to leave that behind for the cities of California or New York.

I have a LinkedIn account where I showcase my freelance videography work as well as posts about some of my other projects. I also have an Instagram account where I post my new projects and create short videos for fun.

Instagram | LinkedIn

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Freshman Funk

Lily Modica

“Freshman Funk” discusses the seemingly silent struggle of transitioning from high school to college. The endless process of finding your people and losing them, trying to adapt to new environments, and the crippling anxiety of being alone. This film is here to say that everything is going to be okay and to embrace the new journey that you are on when entering college. This film showcases the beautiful, complicated, mess of life and that is exactly how it should be.

About the filmmaker

I am a junior at Castleton University studying Forensic Psychology with a minor in statistics. I reside in Sutton, Massachusetts, which is a small farm town south of Worcester. At school, I play for the women’s soccer team, tutor English, and am the treasurer and social media rep for the schools Psi Chi Chapter. Outside of school, I enjoy lifting, writing out film ideas that I will never have the time to commit to and playing video games with my friends. 

I enjoy making films that showcase mental health and I like to put stories out there of things I have gone through to help people feel like they are not alone. This is why “Freshman Funk” is so near and dear to my heart. I hope to be able to continue making films that discuss unspoken issues in adolescent and young adult lives. A simple reminder to end this bio off is that this is all our first time living and being on this huge planet so be kind and love deeply!

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Gender Euphoria

Wes Simard

“Gender Euphoria” is a film meant to mimic how it feels to be a queer person existing in a queer space. There is nothing quite like being around people who “get it” without needing an explanation and that’s the vibe Gender Euphoria is trying to emulate. The film features a few queer individuals, who are intentionally kept anonymous, sharing times they’ve experienced gender euphoria. The visuals are all stock footage as a metaphor for how being queer and enjoying moments of gender euphoria is a normal everyday experience. It’s both natural and sometimes unremarkable just as stock footage is. The film’s point is not to make a huge impacting statement, it’s to find importance in the small things that may seem like nothing to those not experiencing it.

About the filmmaker

Wesley Simard (they/them) is a senior graphic design student at VTSU – Castleton. Their college experience originally started at a different school where they studied aerospace engineering but through a journey of both self-interest and self-discovery, they landed back home in Vermont expressing themselves through art. Now Wesley uses their life experiences to make designs and films that they would have wanted to see while transitioning and going through the struggles of life. 

Instagram

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I Deserve to Take Up Space

Ruben Somda

“I Deserve to Take Up Space” was shot and edited by one person set to the song Free by Florence & The Machine. It’s a reflective piece about the filmmaker’s struggle with being perceived and what it means to accept that you occupy space in the world.

About the filmmaker

Ruben Somda is a junior at VTSU-Castleton campus majoring in graphic design with a minor in communications. They’ve dabbled in filmmaking over the last three years taking various classes like Intro to Film & Video, Experimental Cinema, Intro to Cinema, and Fiction Filmmaking to build and hone their editing, writing, and production skills. Their art and literature backgrounds are their main source of inspiration that’s shaped the type of films they’re interested in making and how they want to tell their stories.

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I’m Fine

Carissa Challinor

“I’m Fine” is an experimental film all about creating the feeling of anxiety. Viewers are thrown into the world of what it is like for someone to experience their thoughts spiraling and tormenting their own mind after one small instance.

About the filmmaker

Carissa Challinor is a Media and Communications major who is concentrating on film Production at VTSU – Castleton Campus. She is obtaining a minor in Theater Arts as well. Carissa has been writing, creating, and acting in her own small, independent films since she was young. One day she hopes to be acting in Hollywood films and making her own. She wants to tell stories from her heart and express how she has experienced the world through cinematography and theater.

LinkedIn

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La Movida Madrileña y Pedro Almodóvar

Molly Marcy ’20

This video essay delves into the explosive resurgence of Spain in the 1980s, known as La Movida Madrileña, following the passing of dictator Francisco Franco. The movement was a radical artistic liberation that challenged the previously stringent censorship of Franco’s regime. At its forefront was influential director Pedro Almodóvar, whose satirical melodramas not only pushed societal boundaries but also gained international acclaim. His works continue to serve as a lens to understand the profound transformation in Spain’s cinematic and cultural landscape during this pivotal period.

About the filmmaker

Vermont native Molly Marcy brings a wealth of experiences from diverse projects and multicultural settings to her work in digital content creation. Specializing in videography and video editing, her documentary-style work emphasizes mindfulness. She utilizes minimal equipment to capture intimate narratives that celebrate the simple yet profound aspects of life.

Her love for digital media found its roots in early interests in photography and design. Later, the 2016 surge of YouTube travel filmmakers, coupled with her university studies, nurtured this passion, leading to its emphasis on film. Recent ventures led Molly to Mechelen, Belgium, where she collaborated on international video projects and worked with companies like Fujifilm. She’s also served as a Videography Coordinator in institutional settings. Molly’s dedication earned her the Academic Excellence Award in Media and Communication at Castleton University, where she graduated in 2020.

Website | LinkedIn

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Nostalgia

Emma Ezzo

An experimental film about the sensation of nostalgia from the perspective of a college student.

About the filmmaker

As a second year Castleton student majoring in Video/Film Production, I have a huge passion for telling stories through film and photography. I also enjoy traveling to new places and adventuring outdoors–two hobbies that inspire me the most to make films. I spend my summers leading backpacking, sea kayaking, and canoeing expeditions in Montana and Washington. My camera, of course, is always taken along for the ride.

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“passion” project

Jacob Ruben

The short experimental film ““passion” project” follows the creation of video content while uncovering and shedding light on the true experiences that filmmakers face. This film opens with what people would tend to expect with an upbeat intro and a storyline that almost seems laid out for the viewer. Although it quickly breaks away from that idea when the upbeat footage of the film is cut and overlaid with real time footage of the creation and struggle during the editing process of filmmaking.

About the filmmaker

My name is Jacob Ruben (he, him), I am a filmmaker from a small town in Vermont. I have a black lab/great dane mix dog named Esme and a small barn cat named Mini. I often travel out of state to spend time with my girlfriend and I am a member of my college’s esports team. I am currently attending the Vermont State University Castleton Campus. I am a junior and finishing up my last semester before my senior year. When it comes to filmmaking the aspect that I enjoy the most, I would say without a doubt it is the editing. I am slowly getting more interested in the filming side as I am slowly getting better equipment and starting to get into photography. I love how filmmaking can either be used to capture a moment in time or to create a moment. Different music, how the camera angle changes, whose perspective it’s coming from, all of those things can change how you feel about a scene. That is why I find such an interest in editing. To me filming is capturing a moment, but the editing is telling the story.

YouTube

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The Hack

Wm Smith

This film follows the story of a stand-up comic who is having a crisis about coming up with material to perform. He looks for guidance from his friends and colleagues, none of whom are much help.

About the filmmaker

Wm Smith (shorthand for William) is a Fourth-year student at Vermont State University studying Communications. He is an avid film nerd and uses his experience as a stand-up comic as a catalyst for the stories he tells.  During the little free time that he has, he often creates other forms of art, such as drawing or playing bass in the band Dirtwitch.

Website | LinkedIn

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Welcome to the Library

Ariana Hausmann ’23

The Castleton Free Library has something for everyone! It is both a place to relax and have fun, and a place to visit for help with research, technology, and houses many more resources. Welcome to the Castleton Free Library!

About the filmmaker

Ariana graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication at Castleton University in May 2023. Her ambition to become a librarian began at the age of seven, fueled by a profound love for storytelling and a commitment to public service. Dedicated to creating a world where access is prioritized over ownership, Ariana is pursuing her goal of becoming a librarian in Vermont. She aims to serve her community with knowledge, respect, creativity, and a warm smile, embodying her lifelong passion for storytelling and commitment to public service.

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Desmond Peeples January 2, 2024