A Celebratory Night at the Movies

By Andrew Garoppo '24, April 25, 2023
Special screening of a student film in Emerson Suites delivers an evening to remember.

For one night, Ithaca College’s Emerson Suites channeled a bit of Hollywood flair for the premiere of Phone Date, a film by first-year IC students Malaika Menezes and Sami Smith that was named a finalist in the 2023 Coca-Cola Refreshing Films program.

The film crew and students came dressed to the nines while snapping photos amidst red and white balloons and Coca-Cola decor adorning the lobby. The event also featured a question-and-answer session with Menezes, Smith, and other members of the production crew.

Encore Presentation

If you missed the premiere of Phone Date and the Q&A with the crew, you can watch the entire event here.

“Being able to have our work and accomplishments celebrated was definitely a rewarding experience, especially with our crew and friends having the opportunity to attend,” Smith said. “We were nervous considering the amount of people in the audience. However, we have gotten used to a lot of interviews, and once we were on stage and were able to see all of the people who helped with the film supporting us from the audience, we definitely started to feel more comfortable.”

Jacqueline Pereira ’25, who served as the film’s production manager, said that the experience was especially rewarding for her as a woman. “My advice for women [who want to pursue a career] in film is to never let anyone tell you that you are not capable,” she said. “We women understand that the film industry is predominantly male, and we often feel left out of roles such as directing, producing, and cinematography. And that’s exactly why we should keep on working to get our names out there.”

Make Your Voice Heard

The Cinemark Fan Favorite Award is an opportunity for participating finalists to share their work with the world while giving the public a chance to vote for their favorite film. From now until April 30, you can show your support for Malaika Menezes ’26 and Sami Smith ’26. Cast your vote for Phone Date by clicking here.

Smith added that the reception from her classmates and other members of the Ithaca College community was validating. “Not only did this event make us feel appreciated and proud, but it also made us realize how capable we were of bringing people together through film and hard work in a way where everyone gets to feel celebrated,” she said.