On Friday, May 18 the Rod Serling Video Festival winner for Best Direction was presented to Essex, NY resident Dustin Schoenfeld for his short film The Other Side of the Coin. His five minute video was screened “at the Helen Foley Theatre at Binghamton High School… as part of a one-hour television special broadcast on WSKG Public Television…” (press release)
The Rod Serling Video Festival premiered in 1995 as a county-wide festival for students in kindergarten through grade 12 as a means to promote the use of video arts technology and creativity in area schools. It was a huge success and in the following year the festival opened to students throughout the state of New York. Now a much anticipated annual event, the festival receives entries from as far west as Buffalo to the eastern shores of Long Island. (Rod Serling Video Festival)
Schoenfeld, who is currently wrapping up his sophomore year at Westport Central School with a volley of New York State Regents examinations, hopes to pursue video and film as a career. The exceptionally creative concept and storytelling exhibited in The Other Side of the Coin indicates that he’s already on the right path. Valley News columnist Colin Wells’ recently highlighted Schoenfeld’s distinction.
This sounds like the Oscar of New York state K-12 students. Well done! (The Valley News)
Well done, indeed.
Another Valley News article about Schoenfeld’s film award offers a glimpse into the plot protagonist.
Schoenfeld’s short film was taped where he grew up in Chicago over spring break. The film shows a busy street scene, where his twin brother, Owen Schoenfeld, finds a coin on the sidewalk. When Owen’s character flips the coin heads up everything goes in forward motion, but when the coin is flipped to tales everyone and everything moves backward. (The Valley News)
The premise is simple, but the plot takes a worrisome twist when the coin is fumbled, landing tale-side up at the bottom of a storm sewer where the protagonist is unable to recover it.
“I always love to play around with different techniques after I film something, and I like how things look when I reverse the film… I always wanted to use this effect but needed a good story line and I was inspired to have the coin determine the switch.” (The Valley News)
There is no dialogue or narrative in The Other Side of the Coin, only ambient sounds, music soundtrack and and a carefully interwoven series of action sequences. Schoenfeld’s paired down storytelling is so captivating that you’ll be sucked in and swooshed to the end before even realizing that words are absent. Action and gesture prevail. By the film’s end the protagonist’s misfortune is resolved in a thoroughly unpredictable if poetic moment, compelling me to hit play and watch the video over again as soon as it finished.
If you find that you just can’t get enough of this rising video star and you’ve already watched The Other Side of the Coin a dozen times, then you can get another glimpse at Schoenfeld’s compelling video style in his totally unsettling submission to the NYCM Insurance 2011 Distracted Driving Video Contest.