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Behind The Scenes with RCM at SIFS 2018

On Saturday, February 24th, Richmond City Media hosted our third annual Staten Island Filmmakers Showcase.

Since 2016, SIFS has given local creators an opportunity to show off their work and grow their audience. Unlike our two previous showcases, however, this year we decided to go digital. Thanks to YouTube’s Live Stream feature, we were able to bring new films, music videos, and compelling stories straight to our viewers’ homes.

Our last two showcases were hosted by two of the borough’s favorite venues, SI Makerspace and the historic Edgewater Hall. This year, the showcase was filmed live at RCM’s headquarters. Although we weren’t catering to guests, there was still a great deal of preparation to be done.

Our very first task was selecting which films to include in the Showcase. Late into 2017, the RCM team reviewed and accepted submissions for the showcase. We received tons of great work from local, national, and international filmmakers. Ultimately, we narrowed our list down to fifteen films and categorized them accordingly.

Our Comedy segment featured hilarious shorts from our friends at Super Secret Show, Perspective Productions, and Purple Cloud. We also screened two great pieces from Justin Appleton of Full Sail Studios and Kyle Lavore of Elevator Box Films. Our Horror segment featured two creepy shorts from Tim Rooney of Through the Lens Productions and Aiden Devaney of Corrib Productions.

In addition to Comedy and Horror films, we also screened two films that documented the lives of those within the transgender community. ‘We Serve Too’, a film by CSI Alumni Lauren Louise, explores the discrimination that transgender people may face in the military. ‘Different’, directed by Benjamin Lamaire and submitted by Arthur Manderley, explores the life of a transgender teen living in France.

Finally, we presented four of our Spotlight films. The first, ‘Crossing the Hills and Valleys,’ was a suspenseful short from Kevin Rogers of BSB Productions. Next up was our second submission from Kyle Lavore of Elevator Box Films, ‘The Family Robinson.’ Our third Spotlight film, The Letter J, was written and starred Flavia DiBartolo. For the grand finale, we screened Purple Cloud’s ‘Major Key’, a film written and directed by fellow Islander and friend of RCM, Michael Robert Anderson.

In the days leading up to SIFS, the crew worked tirelessly to get headquarters camera ready. This meant setting up lights, dressing the set, and testing out the equipment. On the day of the showcase, the crew and on-air talent arrived bright and early to get everything ready.

Our hosts, Melissa and I, rehearsed the script while preparing the showcase’s special guests all while the crew, wrote out cue cards.

Melissa, the festival’s director, said preparation had been going on for about two to three months prior and explained that “over the course of the last few months we were writing the show script and designing our set to feel welcoming and home-y. We wanted it to have the same vibe as our audience’s living rooms. We ended up setting up the night before and staying up until the early hours of the morning to be sure the lighting and backdrop was just right. After all, we did shoot in our own living room.”

RCM had the privilege of interviewing several members of the industry whose work was being presented during the stream.

First up was Sergio Miranda. Miranda is a founding member of Buried Muse, a creative agency based on Staten Island. Buried Muse curates culture in art, music, and skateboarding at live events throughout the city and on their website, For the showcase, Miranda submitted a Buried Muse produced music video called ‘Fitting the Mold’ by the band Surf Rock Is Dead. I spoke with Miranda about Buried Muse’s origin, the inspiration for their work, and what went into producing the video.

Next up, Melissa sat with Beatrice Sniper, a special effects makeup artist. The two discussed what it’s like working on set, the different types of looks she’s created, and even debuted an original Beatrice Sniper gore look using silicone and alcohol paints!

Finally, Melissa spoke with Michael Robert Anderson and Jessica Davies. Anderson is a Staten Island based actor/filmmaker with Purple Cloud. His latest film, ‘Major Key’, was one of our spotlight films. Anderson and Davies, who was Major Key’s production coordinator, discussed what went into creating this film.

Throughout the stream, our crew was monitoring both the videos and our social media pages. Kayla and VP were in charge of interacting with our audience online by responding to comments and answering questions.

A lot of things can go wrong during a film festival, especially when you’re shooting live from a remote location. However, the film gods and goddesses were very kind to us, and the showcase went off without any technical difficulties. As much as we’d like to credit divine intervention, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without our entire RCM crew, our cherished guests, and of course, our fans!


Stay tuned for the latest and greatest from Richmond City Media. We can’t wait to share our upcoming projects with you!

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@richmondcitymedia Boomerang by Gina Policastro

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