FDU shows award-winning short film directed by alumnus

Mark Tsyrouk

Student Voice Editor


On Nov. 7, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Spanish and film production faculty premiered an award-winning short film directed by FDU alumnus Miguel J. Soliman.

The film, entitled “Desde el Principio” or “From the Top,” was shown to dozens of students in Dreyfuss 125 after winning awards from major film festivals, including Best Short Film in the 2017 HBO New York Latino Film Festival, according to the director’s website.

The event was hosted by Howard Libov, who provided a short introduction to Soliman, alongside Patricia Bazan-Figueras, a Spanish professor who supported the project.

“I got very involved in his work when he was a senior at FDU,” said Bazan-Figueras, recalling her relationship with Soliman. “His film, ‘Bypass,’ had a positive impact in the community and I was his public relations representative, along with Professor Randall and Professor Libov, his mentor.”

Before the screening, the director provided a short background regarding the contents of the film.

“I wanted smart storytelling,” said Soliman, who graduated from FDU in 2015. “This is a film that, if you miss the mark, it is a melodrama.”

The film was projected for approximately 11 minutes, which was followed by a question-and-answer session. Some students praised the music score and plot development, as well as the quality of the actors.

“I thought it was pretty unique, especially the double story,” said junior Andrew Luminello.

Soliman attributed his success to the progression of his script, which was written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Nicolas Giacobone.

Soliman said he met Giacobone when he was completing a graduate course at the New York School of Visual Arts. From there, Soliman established the Latino-centric plot through the use of precise casting and script blocking.

“I want to write a 3D woman who feels and loves instead of being used as a tool,” stated the director, referring to the use of an actress and an actor with a physical disability.

“Desde el Principio,” according to IMDb.com, revolves around two Spanish-speaking voice actors that deal with a problem within their relationship in the midst of recording film translations.

Since its release, the film has won “Best Short Film” in the School of Visual Arts MPS Short Film Festival, “Best Actress” in the Rahway International Film Festival, and “Best Student Work” at YoFi Fest in 2017.

Bazan-Figueras, who taught the director a “few courses” in addition to accompanying him on an international trip to Peru, said that Soliman’s techniques are ultimately beneficial to the filming industry.

“Miguel has remained close to FDU and this alone will influence students because he is in the field now. He is smart, hard-working, driven, knowledgeable, and genuine to his work, qualities needed to lead and to make significant innovations on film.”

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