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SOLDATEN: a look back

August 27, 2009

A friend of mine is having a big end-of-the-summer bash at his place this weekend.  It’s going to be quite the extravaganza complete with live music and competitive badminton and we came up with the idea that, in between sets, we showcase some of our (always laughable) student film work.  For that reason, I dug up Soldaten, my senior film project while at Penn State, made way back in ‘02/’03.

What can I say about this film?  Well, yours truly wrote it, Ryan Lizardi directed it.  Mickey Klein shot it (who, considering the shooting conditions, did an incredible job), Ed Corrado did audio, and we all produced it really (in hindsight, I wish that was how it read in the credits.)

As for the cast, they were fantastic (especially considering we found them by posting fliers around campus.)  Nathan Shupenko, a classmate of ours, carries the film.  He brought the heart.  The antagonist, Brendan Irving, is a NYC comedian and a funny one at that, but he turned up the intensity of the character far beyond what I envisioned.  Paul Boccadoro, fresh out of high school, blew our minds.  I don’t think he had ever spoken a word of dialogue before this.  And Abe Mollinaires, whom Lizardi and I both claim to have “discovered”, took his supporting character and ran with it, practically stealing the show.

So for two semesters, we busted our asses off for this film. We suffered through below freezing temperatures, all night shoots, and a shoe-string budget that afforded us little luxury (cold hot dogs, anybody?)  But the memories we made?  Unforgettable.

As is the case with most student films, I can’t help but watch it and shake my head.  My script was… laughable.  The plot was decent, if not cliché.  But some of the dialogue (maybe all of the dialogue) is pretty cringe worthy.  Here are come of my favorites:

You don’t hear this kind of quiet back in the city.

and…

You are crazy aren’t you?

I could go on.  Instead, enjoy them for yourself:

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