“Alby” Soars on Film Festival Awards Night


Mr. Alan presents the award for Best Picture at Film Festival Awards Night.

Matt Brownsword

Alby's director graciously accepts the Best Picture Award.
Alby’s director graciously accepts the Best Picture Award.


Red Carpet night had all the show, all the pizzazz of grandiose Red Carpet scene: the cameras, the hosts, the paparazzi, the people, and even a long, red carpet.

But after the show was over, after the last question was answered, after the microphones were powered down, after the carpet was rolled back up, after the last camera was shut down, and there remained only one projector left on, inside a humid auditorium, it was all business. It was a good budget item, according to a review at https://www.buydlp.com/best-projector-under-300/.

The night started off with some TST—top secret trailers—that were high school renditions of old movies that elicited laughs from the audience, especially seniors Jackie Gately, Chris Nash, and sophomore Marc Sheehan’s “GoodFellas” spoof “SmartFellas”. Then, the audience was allowed a behind the scenes glance of every movie, of every facet of the moviemaking process that would be rewarded later that evening. Arguably the funniest part of the night, a ‘pretend’ scene of Jackie Gately and Justin Connolly’s acting rivalry was played out, with Gately denying any jealousy over Connolly’s two lead actor victories and Connolly pretentiously proclaiming his superiority over Gately. Well known to the audience, Connolly and Gately are best friends, so to see their ‘acting rivalry’ embellished on the screen brought the audience, especially the film kids, to hysterics. Sophomore Marc Sheehan said “I know [Gately] and [Connolly] really well, and they love each other. It was hilarious to see them act out their rivalry, because, obviously, they are two phenomenal actors.”

Then, the films nominated for Best Picture— “Hall Monitor”, “Alby”, “Extra Credit”, and “The Treasurer”—played on the big screen, one after the other. Treating the audience to the best of what the film kids had to offer, from editing to filming to acting to screenwriting, these movies set the stage for what was to come in the awards process. After all the movies ended, the lights went down, and Dan Mullaney, long time host of the film festival, took the stage. The film kids went from quiet, discreet chatter to silence; the lights dimmed, the camera rolled: Action.

First up were the nominees for Achievement in Music, a star studded class compared to previous years: seniors Chris Nee, Caleb Cofsky, and Mike Rando wrote music for multiple movies and figured to be contenders for the award. Nee won the award, making him the first two time winner in the history of the award since it was created in 2009. Next was the award for Best Art Direction, and the most obvious contenders seemed to be “The Wombat”, for its costumes and other decorations, and Alby, whose Heaven and mailroom scenes, along with the dance attire, made for a convincing Dance/Angel movie. Junior Ashley Waldron (“Alby”) edged out Steph Saba and Rachel St. Germain (“The Wombat”) for the crown, which Waldron accepted gratefully, but this was not to be her only trip to the stage.

The next award was one of the bigger awards of the night, which the directors and editors had worked towards the whole year. The Best Editing award is one of the more prestigious awards, that takes into account the long hours spent in front of the computer, cross dissolving and fading, razoring and clipping, inning and outing. For its complex nature and careful and precise editing, the silent movie Hall Monitor, and its two editors, juniors Rory Hardiman and Mike McKeon took the award. Next up were the two acting awards, which was a senior heavy group, featuring Gately, Ryan Erwin, Eric Jansen, Evan Parsons, and Caleb Cofsky. Gately finally got his Best Actor award, much deserved after his convincing role in “Alby”. Surprisingly to much of the audience, first-time actor Cofksy took home the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in Alby as Carey, the awkward, yet triumphant dancer.

The most shocking award of the night was the award for Best Faculty Performance, which most of the audience assumed would go to Mr. St. Martin in “Extra Credit”. However, the award went to the “The Wombat” himself, Mr. O’ Malley, a first time winner. St. Martin’s role was well played and very convincing, but it was O’ Malley’s carefree attitude and willingness to dress up in a wombat suit that translated so effectively played into the movie, earning him the award.

One of the more emotional moments of the night was for the award of Best Director, which was the only tie of the night, between senior Erin Batchelder’s “The Treasurer” and Hardiman and McKeon’s “The Hall Monitor”. Batchelder was noticeably moved by the award, which was her second Best Director accolade after her directing role in last year’s A Serious Student. Her speech reflected her emotional connection to the Film Festival and all the people in it, especially all the people she’s worked with throughout her career.

Finally, the most-hyped and most-celebrated award of the night, Best Picture, was awarded to “Alby”, which garnered five of the nine awards. Gately, Waldron, and senior Matt Johnson graciously accepted the award, with Johnson speaking on behalf of the other two, as Gately (twice) and Waldron had already spoke. “Alby”, like “A Serious Student” and “The Mathlete” before it, took the majority of the awards for the night, from all facets of the movie making process—screenplay, directing, and acting. These qualities will be the ones that the seniors that are graduating from Walpole High and its prestigious film festival take to the future,