Senior journeys through 9 decades with 9 films, genres

9 movies, 9 genres, 9 decades
Desmond Mahoney in character for one of his nine films.
Desmond Mahoney in character for one of his nine films.

This year’s Alex Cohn Explore Grant recipient — senior Desmond Mahoney — spent his summer and early fall immersed in the world of moviemaking. From writing to acting to directing to editing, Mahoney did a little bit of everything for his film, “9 Movies, 9 Genres, 9 Decades” — premiering October 26 in Bradley Hall at 7 p.m. As the title suggests, the film is made up of nine individual movies and spans nine decades and genres.

“I chose to make nine different films representing nine different genres, because I love and enjoy various different types of movies,” Mahoney said. “It was an amazing opportunity to delve into and work on so many different movies, from a Spaghetti Western to a film noir.”

Pre-production for the films began in June and included writing the scripts. Mahoney collaborated with Beaver alum Michael Barrow ’12, who Mahoney calls a “junior Sid Field.” While it was mostly an enjoyable process, there were a few hurdles the two writers needed to overcome.

“From the get-go we knew what we wanted to do for the 1930s and 1940s but for the 20s and the 2000s, those were tough because those didn’t really have standout genres,” Mahoney said.

Makeup for the movies
Makeup played an important role in all nine movies.

To solve the problem, they made the 20s and the 2000s the bookends to the entire project and Mahoney said he’s quite pleased with the end result.

Another challenge the senior faced was scheduling.

“I thought I’d make a schedule and we’d stick to but that was just not case,” he said. “We had to be flexible. But it worked out.”

“We had a small production [and crew] so often we’d be acting and then holding the boom mic or filming,” he said. “We would all take turns doing different stuff.”To that end, he credits his hardworking and dedicated crew who pitched in everywhere.

Production was the most intense part of the filmmaking process, Mahoney said. Days were often 10 to 12

Movie posterhours long — and there were very few (if any) days off for a month. But they did finish the film within their timeline — a fact Mahoney is very proud of.

Post-production, however, is taking longer than initially thought. Originally, Mahoney expected to be working on cutting and editing in August and September but he’s still at it mid-October.

“We have so much more footage than we expected,” Mahoney said. “We have nine movies and they’re all different so they all require different styles. That’s very challenging.”

The genresThe post-production process — which Mahoney calls the most tedious — is finally in its final stages and will be complete for the premiere in Bradley Hall on October 26 at 7 p.m.

Check out photos from the premiere.

More about the Alex Cohn Explore Grant

Named in memory of Alex Cohn ’07 and made possible by friends and family of the Kaplan and Cohn families, the Alex Cohn Explore Grant is awarded to a rising junior or senior for an experiential, hands-on program or course of study to explore a passion for a particular topic or activity outside of school.

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