June 3, 2014
WASHINGTON - The talents of rising senior Nick Alfieri (Portland, Ore./Jesuit/Hotchkiss School) extend well beyond the gridiron, as the All-Patriot League linebacker and aspiring filmmaker earned "Best Dramatic Film" at the 2014 Georgetown Film Festival for his short picture, "Gray Areas."
Alfieri, the 2014 recipient of Georgetown football's prestigious Joe Eacobacci No. 35 Memorial Jersey, had been working on the script for a class when he was urged to consider entering the festival for Georgetown students. Despite a semester that included a busy class schedule and spring football practice, the chance to have his work seen by a larger audience provided the right motivation needed to push his work to new heights.
"The film festival was independent of any class, but this script was something I was working on for a class that I had to turn in anyway, so the festival was the extra motivated that I needed," Alfieri said.
"Gray Areas", written and directed by Alfieri as he was going through a self-described "Ben Affleck phase" was influenced by the actor/director's feature films, "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town," among others. His goal was to include fast-paced action scenes, but also to give the viewer a sense of the morality about the events in the film, all while writing roles for some of his Georgetown football teammates.
"When I was writing it, especially for Hunter Kiselick (Nutley, N.J./Bergen Catholic), a big, huge jacked guy, I was thinking about him for a certain role the whole time and he was excited to do it," Alfieri said. "Darius Baxter (Accokeek, Md./Bishop McNamara) was great, I wasn't thinking about him when I wrote that, but then it just clicked that he could pull that off and do a great job."
Teammates Ryan Rattay (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) and Xander Carpousis (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park/Fork Union) also made cameo appearances in "Gray Areas."
From the beginning of writing process to final edit, Alfieri estimated that it took between a month-and-a-half to two months. Filming spanned two days with a six-hour day session and a four-hour night session, while editing took a week.
"People don't realize Nick was the director, producer, writer, cameraman, speaker guy and light person," said Baxter. "To see the finished product, it would appear like there was a whole crew there. I was just in awe of how talented he was. He actually made me look like I knew what I was doing in the film."
Winning "Best Dramatic Film" and gaining constructive feedback for his work proved to be a strong motivating force for Alfieri, but he was still hesitant to show the Georgetown football coaching staff the film due to its adult content.
"I was a little nervous to show this film to the coaches, so I warned them all that it's a little edgy," Alfieri said. "But they've all been so supportive and positive and I think its fun for them to see their players in a different light."
"One thing about working with Nick in football is his preparation in meetings and in practice and you see the same attention to detail in his film work," Defensive Coordinator Luke Thompson said. "Not only is it great to see Nick's talent in writing and directing the film, but you also get to see some of the other guys express a different side of their personalities off the field."
Off the field, Alfieri has had a passion for movies and filmmaking since childhood. The Portland, Oregon native speaks fondly of going to the theater for Saturday movie nights with his large family. His love of making films also dates back to elementary school.
"I've been making movies with my four little brothers since I was in fifth and sixth grade with my parents' old camcorder," Alfieri said. "Doing that all summer and then when I got to Georgetown Alec May (Wrenthem, Mass./King Phillip) and I started making short films and it sort of rolled from there. Now it's something that I think I want to do after college."
May, who was named a co-captain along with Alfieri in the spring, remembers discovering their mutual enjoyment of filmmaking, a hobby that the two have continued through their time on the Hilltop.
"Our freshmen year Nick and I were talking and found out that we both enjoyed making videos and had taken film classes in high school," May said. "The first video we made was for my Dad's surprise 50th birthday party, and from there we just kept making more short, funny videos with Nick doing all the editing and filming. He's kept going and has made a lot more short films. He has a strong passion for filmmaking and really dedicates a lot of time to it. Nick is talented and his hard work is clearly paying off. I think that anyone that watches any of his videos can see just how creative and skilled he is."
In over 10 years of making films, Alfieri has continued to grow from helping him edit better high school football highlight videos than his peers to a potential career opportunity. This summer he will take his next step working with a production company in his hometown and will continue to receive advice and guidance from other Georgetown football alums that have traveled a similar path.
"This summer I'm working at a small production company called Sky Studios in Portland," Alfieri said. "We're going to be making promotional videos for small businesses and other events. It's going to be flexible, so it will give me time to work on my own projects, so I'm excited about that. Also, Coach Sgarlata also put me in touch with a Georgetown graduate named Stu Pollard, who is a movie producer out in Los Angeles. He has his own production company and he's been giving me advice."
While Alfieri plans to move behind the camera for his career after college, he will have one more opportunity to play a starring role for the Hoyas' defense after compiling over 180 tackles over the last two seasons. The Joe Eacobacci No. 35 Memorial Jersey recipient and co-captain will look to provide plenty more highlights beginning when Georgetown hosts Wagner in the season-opener on August 30.