Alexander Kerai ’19 and members of the Phoenix Players recently premiered their short film, “First Light” for the cast and crew in the Fish Screening Room in the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts. The advance screenings of the film will be held on Saturday, April 8 at 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the Fish Screening Room. It is free and open to the public.
The Phoenix Players are a student theatre group dedicated to giving students opportunities in acting, directing, stage management, set design, sound design, lighting and writing.
“First Light” was written, directed, and produced by Kerai. The film was co-produced by Jackie Fisher ’18 and Gail Quintos ’17, featuring actors Casey Cady ’18, Aaron Donahue ’18, Kayli Ennis ’17, Luis Figueroa ’18, Margaret Hollister ’20, Dianna Paige ’19 and Chad Reid ’18.
Kerai began writing the film during his senior year of high school. He further developed the script while taking “Screenwriting” with Professor of English Grant Holly. After approaching Holly with the screenplay, Holly requested that Kerai make it into a movie.
“It is just short of a miracle that this was completed,” Holly says. “This is an auteur’s work.”
The film tells the story of Madeleine, a girl who struggles with the loss of her high school boyfriend and her attempt to move on. “The film is about trying to move past the people you’ve left behind,” he says.
“One of the hardest things for me was portraying psychological issues visually and appropriately,” says Paige, who plays Madeleine.
“First Light” was shot in November 2016 with a production schedule of four weeks and four days of filming. The film involved collaboration between Media and Society, English, Theatre and Music departments, as well as the actors, production team and musicians.
Professor of Media and Society Lester Friedman, an audience member at the premiere, commented on the interdisciplinary nature of the film and its production. “This is emblematic of Hobart and William Smith Colleges at its best. It is wonderful to see the dream of truly interdisciplinary work made flesh.”