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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student filmmakers recognized at Allentown Film Festival

There were two finalists and two semi-finalists representing Lafayette at the Allentown Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of Isabella Gaglione ’25)

Four film and media studies students saw their hours of careful filmmaking showcased on the big screen last week. 

Paige Mathieu ‘24, Gigi Rauchut ‘26, McKenna Graf ‘26 and Sam Cohen ‘25 were recognized for their short films at the Allentown Film Festival. 

Mathieu’s experience as a finalist for her short film, “Growing Roots,” was particularly special.

 “I never showcased my work outside of Lafayette and I’m from the Allentown community,” Mathieu said. “So I was kind of like, ‘why not?’”

“Growing Roots” was Mathieu’s first attempt at a full short film. The story follows a first-year student trying to find friends on her college campus with the help of a plant. 

Seeing the film screened outside of Buck Hall signified a special milestone in Mathieu’s storytelling journey, and making the film taught Mathieu valuable lessons that she has implemented into her senior thesis of a television pilot.

Rauchut, another finalist, was acknowledged for her short film “Dear Summer,” which follows the personification of winter writing a letter to the personification of summer. 

Rauchut did not originally make this film to be seen by a larger audience.

“I made it for myself,” Rauchut said. “It was last spring break and where I lived we had a snowstorm. So I took advantage of that time.”

Although she was unable to attend the screening, the recognition alone signified Rauchut’s artistic journey.

“It definitely means I’m on the right track of what I want to do,” Rauchut said. 

Rauchut will attend the Cranford Film Festival this weekend for the same film.

Graf, a semi-finalist at the festival, focused on unlocking the archives of her grandfather’s life in the short documentary, “Lost Conversations.”

The film, which is a compilation of interviews and documents from Graf’s family members, is the first iteration of an expanded piece that Graf hopes to turn into a senior thesis project. 

“It was very cool to start developing those skills and then get recognized for it in the film festival,” Graf said. 

Though initially nervous to view their film on a theater screen, the support from Graf’s family in the audience made it all worth it. 

“I think I was more overwhelmed with gratitude that I was able to experience that, and that eclipsed the fear,” Graf said.

Cohen placed as a semi-finalist with his noir detective film, “Shadows of Confession,” which follows a detainee who wakes up in an interrogation room.

While it was not his first time submitting work to a film festival, being recognized alongside other Lafayette students and community members was a memorable experience. 

“It really feels like you created something important when you’re watching in a theater full of people,” Cohen said. “Then there’s nothing like hearing that applause afterwards.”

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About the Contributor
Bernadette Russo
Bernadette Russo, Culture Editor
Likes trees and hates writing bios.

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