SHU professor debuts latest short film
“It started as a hobby, and now it’s just what I do.” Professor Tom Rondinella said. “I just do it for relaxation.”
The Chair of the Department of Communications and the Arts, who also happens to teach film and video production at Seton Hall University, has turned his childhood love for filmmaking into something great. The release of his new silent comedy “Dark Corner”wasrecently premiered at the Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park, N.J., in April. In June it will be playing at the New Jersey International Film Festival, as well as the Waterfront Film Festival in Michigan.
Professor Rondinella was 7 years old when he first got into filmmaking. He did not have the equipment we have today, so he was left to use a Super 8 camera, which records on reels of film.
“Probably your folks had that,” Rondinella joked. “Up in the attic with the little reels. That’s what I used to play around with as a kid.”
As a junior History major at Seton Hall, Rondinella said he heard that film making classes were being held. His took the classes, and his road to becoming a producer, writer and director was on its way.
“The area of film and video production at Seton Hall is a well-kept secret,” Rondinella said. “Students who get involved in it turn out to be very successful.”
His latest movie “Dark Corner” is a silent comedy which runs about eight minutes long. Rondinella said he wanted it to be three minutes; however it did not work out the way he planned. The film’s story line is about a woman whose boss takes credit for all of her work. The woman is then placed in a dark room with a “magical desk,” which she soon finds out has strange powers: whatever is put on the desk dies. To test it out, the woman puts a picture of a dog that has tormented her for some time. The next day she finds out the dog has died. The woman continues to abuse the power of the mysterious desk by placing her boss’ picture on it. According to Rondinella, the short film has a very unique and bizarre plot, but it has done well in the festivals.
“We just wanted to have fun,” he said. “We started planning it in July, we shot it in November, and it was finished by the end of January.”
Rondinella said that the film was inspired by a trip he took to the Garden State Film Festival back in 2011. There were many different genres of movies being shown, but Rondinella said he thought what the festival lacked was a good quality short film.
“Nobody’s making good short films, let’s make one,” Rondinella recalled telling his film crew. “Silent, do it cheap and let’s play it here next year.”
“Dark Corner” was also edited by William Fonda, a graduate of Seton Hall’s class of 2011.
Rondinella said he plans to have a showing of his new film at Seton Hall in the near future, so students will be able to view the film too.
Over the years Rondinella has been involved in over 30 movies, of many different genres. He has helped produce, write and direct many films. Rondinella recalls working on “Religion, Inc.” with Sandra Bullock and director Debby Cosgrove as a career highlight.
Rondinella said he is now in the process of talking to a producer about producing a documentary on prison poetry. After that is finished, he said he would like to start working on a horror comedy as well.
Gabriella Giuffre can be reached at email@example.com.