At a reception held on April 28th at the Old Schwamb Mill Museum, Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) organizers celebrated the seventh annual Poster Contest Competition. Not just a film festival…the reception was a celebration of many art forms from an exhibition of the poster illustrations, live music, poetry and story-telling, bringing together the art students with their professor, the contest judges, artists and appreciators of the arts. The chosen poster was unveiled, the winner, Joshua Chace was announced and awarded a cash prize of $500 by the festival’s sponsor, Watertown Savings Bank. The reception was the launch of this year’s international film festival, scheduled to be held October 26-29 at the Capitol Theatre.

With the founding of AIFF in 2010, the first project to spin-off connecting film with the arts was the Poster Contest. This year the offer to participate in the Competition went out exclusively to Robert Maloney’s Experimental Illustration class at Mass College of Art and Design. It has been a successful partnership where junior and senior level students have had the opportunity to create a beautiful portfolio piece that could help them in launching their careers. 

Professor Robert Maloney was the guest speaker at the reception. A Massachusetts native, Robert has a Masters of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His recent work focuses on the connections between the temporary materials of our man-made, urban structures and how these fragile forms relate to the erosion of memory. His work has been featured in Creative Quarterly Magazine, Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine, The Pulse of Mixed Media, Art Revolution and Art scope Magazine. Maloney’s work is held in the collection of Wellington Management, Liberty Mutual and private collections with his exhibitions, commissions and publications being numerous.


MEET the WINNNER: Joshua Chace is a senior at Mass College of Art and Design. His artist statement for his submission is: “The imagery of the film reel and flags over a colorful painted surface lets the viewer know about the art and creativity that happens at this international film show”. Joshua said he is better at computer art than drawing, and leaned on his Photoshop skills to create the final product. Surprised to be named the winner, he thinks producing another poster would be fun.

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BAILEY BURGESS: “I wanted to try to convey both the subject of the festival (film) while simultaneously nodding to the international element and keeping it graphic and simple.”

TYLER BETTENCOURT: “I decided to create an image that related to the festival but also had my own personal spin on it. I centered my image around the façade of the Capitol Theatre itself and then added a UFO-like ship above in the shape of a film reel, bringing a fun and unique approach to the scene.”

KIEL EVINS: “My approach was to depict the Capitol Theatre in Arlington as if it was a set of a production. Using a laser cutter, I created a miniature model that I later photographed to make this small world come to life.”

KARA MACKIE: “I wanted to depict the global nature of the festival very literally, and the marquee was a fun way to incorporate both type and cinema.”

ERIN McCARTHY: “I really wanted to illustrate the diversity that this event holds so close to their hearts. Showing a diverse garden of flowers from around the world flourishing together with creativity and passion!”

MICHELLE NUTTER: “With this poster, I wanted to highlight the celebratory nature of the Arlington International Film Festival. Bringing all different cultures and countries together through film.”

V. OLIVEIRA: “Using video components as experimental material, I collaged a “backstage scene” while utilizing the element of surprise by channeling unexpected art making.”

ERIC SORENSEN: “This piece was meant to explore the concept of intercontinental connection by personifying an amalgam of different landscapes from all over the world. I used cut book board to build up a multi-layered surface and give the work a three-dimensional quality.”

JACK TURNBULL: “This poster borrows heavily from the Newspaper Illustrations of Nell Brinkley, who focused on female protagonists in various settings.  To put an emphasis on the International element of the festival, I depicted my figures in a variety of races and genders.  it is an homage to movie romance; sensual, passionate, elegant.”  

2017 AIFF Judges Statements

“There were several very outstanding concepts, which speaks very highly of the thoughtfulness with which the artists approached the project. In addition, all of the pieces showed sophistication of technical ability in each artist’s chosen media. I placed strong weight on the way each design potentially fulfills its purpose: To be displayed ‘on the street’ to motivate the general public to learn more about AIFF and buy tickets. Because of this, I looked for a clear concept that could be interpreted from a viewing distance ranging from about 5 feet to across a street. I also judged the entries at face value. Other than typography, I assumed (as in previous years) that each submission must be evaluated as-is, rather than for their potential. In other words, although a design could be altered to improve upon it, reworking the design is not an option, even if the concept is strong and the image is intriguing.”

Jennifer Cheng DesAutels, EdM – Illustrator – StudioJCD.com | Coordinator, Medford Children's Art Showcase

“This year’s work was very enjoyable to review. The conceptual abstraction of the illustrations from Mass Art students was exciting to consider, and the different stylistic applications made it is a spirited judging process!”

Nilou Moochhala – Principal – NYMDesign - www.nymdesign.com

“I appreciated the obvious effort that all students gave to this poster design contest. The challenge was really three-fold: to create an impactful design, to communicate specific information about the AIFF and to underscore the international aspect of the film festival.

The discussion included weighing the literal against the more abstract and the design’s “readability” up close vs. from a distance. It was difficult to choose just one winner. Congratulations to all students for their creative effort. It was a pleasure working with the other judges. The give and take during the judging was robust and deliberative”.

David Ardito - K-12 Director of Visual Art, Arlington Public Schools - Visual Artist and Former recent member of the Art Education Faculty at Mass College of Art and Design

Music, Storytelling and Poetry:

Carl Romeo, originally from Chile moved to San Francisco, CA and in 1979, he joined the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood, CA, now the Musicians Institute. For many years, Romeo worked with a Latin promoter that managed famous Latin singers among them Armando Manzanero and Paloma San Basilio. His career has included working with orchestras as well as lead electric guitar and rhythm guitar player for big bands and groups as well as a session studio musician.   

Brendyn Schneider, Storyteller extraordinaire! Professional story spinner, published writer, performance instructor, and TedX Coach, Brendyn Schneider has been a featured storyteller at Emerson College, Coolidge Corner Theater, Improv Boston and other fine venues across New England.  Making frequent appearances with Mass Mouth and the Moth, Brendyn takes his audiences on story-trips of wit through the follies of growing-up and the everyday slog.

Shirley Gerald Ware is the author of eight books and the publisher of a worldwide magazine that publishes teens and adults locally and worldwide. She is widely known for her engaging poems and short stories; many of her poems have been nominated for awards. Ware was recently named Author of the Month by “Eye on Magazine.”