Novice Nashua filmmaker hopes her ode to ‘The Projectionist’ is a hit at NH Film Festival 2024

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Behind the scenes image from the filming of “The Projectionist,” a college thesis project turned NH Film Festival entry by Nashua filmmaker Brinna Prince. Courtesy Photo

NASHUA, NH – An ode to the projectionists who made the digital film world possible, Nashua native Brenna Prince has entered her college thesis project and first short film, The Projectionist, into the upcoming New Hampshire Film Festival in October.

The film – shot on 16mm film and written and directed by Prince’s friend Mark Gerard DiSalle – takes place during the shift from film projectors to digital projectors being used in movie theaters. 

“[Mark] wanted to pay his respects to the projectionists and the filmmakers back in the day that were kind of our inspiration today. They started off the whole movie industry with film projectors and filming on 16mm and 32mm,” Prince said. “Because the film is about a film projectionist, he kind of felt he had to shoot it on film. It only felt right because the projectors in the film are literally showing film, and it just would be silly if we shot this whole story about film itself on a digital camera.” 

Nashua native and novice filmmaker Brenna Prince is hoping her 16mm film, The Projectionist, is a hit at this year’s New Hampshire Film Festival. /Courtesy photo

To make this happen, they enlisted the help of Riccardo Vincenzi, who had experience shooting on 16mm, as cinematographer. While much more complicated, Prince said film captures a beautiful image that cannot be duplicated on digital.

“There’s so many things to keep in mind with film. You can’t expose it to the light so we have to load it into a film camera and just make sure that everything we do is pretty much perfect,” she said. “We can’t play it back at all so we have to just hope that it comes out how we hoped, which was a little nerve racking doing that for six days straight and not seeing anything that we shot.”

Prince traces her interest in film back to her childhood when she would make videos on her iPod with her brothers and friends. Her passion was further fostered in the video production program at Nashua High School South. During her freshman year at Nashua High School North, her friends asked her to be a part of a short film they were making for a project.

The making of “The Projectionist,” an entry by Nashua filmmaker Brenna Prince, in the 2024 NH Film Festival. Courtesy Photo

“We had a great time shooting her project so I was like ‘oh my gosh, this is it, this is what I want to do,’” Prince said.

Open to junior and seniors, Prince joined the video production program once she was able. 

“I really loved it. The teachers Mr. Leone and Mr. Beals at that time were really really great. They were very supportive [and] were always like your number one fan.” 

After six months of pre-production, eight days of shooting, and a year editing and adding sound and music, Prince entered the film into several film festivals, including the New Hampshire Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival, and festivals in Austin and Nashville. She will find out in September whether her film made it into the festival. 

“We were so worried about developing the footage and it coming out terribly but everything was good,” she said. “It was a crazy experience how many people were involved in the community and our school and also family members, like Mark’s family, my family, everyone was involved supporting us which was really cool. [There were] definitely a lot of people to make this happen.”

Brenna Prince has put it out there – now she’s hoping to see something come of “The Projectionist,” her first official film festival entry. Courtesy Photo