The South Orange Maplewood Film Festival (SOMA) hosts a variety of local filmmakers to showcase their films and documentaries. It is relatively new in the area and this year is the third year.
In previous years, students from the College of the Communications and the Arts have had their works shown at the festival, as well as faculty members. As such, the festival provides an opportunity for many newcomers to show their works and enhance their filmmaking skills to audiences. Students and professors are free to submit their own projects, and that’s what Erin Neupauer, a sophomore visual and sound media major with a concentration in film, did.
Neupauer’s film, “Skin and Bones,” will be shown next Sunday as a part of the festival’s lineup.
“I got involved with filmmaking because movies have always been as escape for me, and I wanted to help others in the same way it helps me,” Neupauer said.
Neupauer’s film is based on her sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon’s philanthropy to help those with anorexia nervosa. The main character in the film is a girl that suffers from the disorder and the viewer gets an inside look as to how a person goes through it privately.
Neupauer was shocked to find out that her film was going to be shown. “I genuinely did not expect this to happen,” she said. “It’s my first time and I mainly entered just so they would see my name for future reference. It’s been incredibly exciting.”
Neupauer said she hopes that her film can help those who struggle from mental illnesses and that it can bring awareness about these issues for others.
“I hope that one can feel inspired to spread love and body positivity, because every kind gesture helps a person heal in more ways than one can imagine,” she said.
Tommy Rinaldi, a junior visual and sound media major, worked with Neupauer on her film project and talked about his experience on set.
“It was a lot of fun trying to figure out the right way to shoot everything, there were some challenging shots but she was a great director and actress so it made it easy,” he said.
Rinaldi shared the same vision that Neupauer has for her film.
“I was also excited to shoot this because of the content of the film, it’s something that’s constantly relevant and important to cover and talk about,” he said.
William Pace, a professor in the College of the Communication and the Arts, said: “Talking to the film festival director, what they all are looking for are strong points of view.”
Pace added, “People really want to see original, unique perspectives [and] voices and so I really push students not to try and mimic something they enjoyed before but try to find what’s at the heart of that that really inspires students so that they can tell their own versions of.”
The Seton Hall portion of the film festival, which will be on March 18, is free for all students to attend and tickets can be downloaded through Eventbrite.
Adam Varoqua can be reached at email@example.com.