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October 24, 2002 Quirky film about cutlery puts students on the festival map



by Clare Byrne

Single white female with voracious appetite for forks seeks tall dark stranger for a meaningful relationship. Attraction to metal an asset.

The subject matter of Fork Keeps, a short animated movie written, directed and produced by Concordia film student Anne-Emanuelle Romanelli, is original, to say the least, and it captivated audiences at film festivals across the country in 2002.

“Fork Keeps is so witty and original in its strange imaginative way that we feel the presence of Max Ernst and Man Ray hovering behind the camera,” read the International Women in Film Festival brochure.

Romanelli claims to have been most marked by the French nouvelle vague movement, which produced, among others, Jean-Luc Godard. She also loves to draw. Her movie combines the introspection of an art house movie with the magic of animation.

The production costs of the film came to $2,500, a paltry price for a movie, but a significant sum for a student. Fortunately, Romanelli was the recipient of a scholarship in 2002, the final year of her bachelor’s in film animation. The money she saved on fees she invested in the movie. Two friends agreed to play the fledgling couple.

“The inspiration for the fork-eater came from a friend’s brother who works in a psychiatric hospital,” Romanelli said. “He told me about a patient who had to be operated on repeatedly because she kept eating the hospital cutlery. In the movie, the habit represents the compromise Alice is faced with when she meets Evan. Will she have to stop eating forks?”

Romanelli is applying to Concordia’s master’s program in film studies in the hope of teaching cinema studies one day. She also plans to continue making movies.

“Cinema allows you to reach out to people,” she concluded. “It’s creates a forum for discussion. That’s what I like about art.”