Columbia filmmakers create a short film to bring awareness to kidnapping

Ethan Sandock

By Alexandra Yetter, News Editor

After waking from a nightmare one night, 2019 cinema art and science alumna Rossella Agostini had the idea to create a short fiction film about something that had always intrigued her—kidnapping.

Set in 1980s rural America, the film “Simulacra” revolves around a seemingly normal family who confines their three children to the house during a flu outbreak, but things are not as they seem.

A cast and crew of 13 people came together for the project, which was filmed on 35mm film. Creative producer and cinematographer Agostini’s central goal with the short film was to raise awareness on the prevalence of kidnapping.

“[Agostini] once said, ‘Let’s make art with purpose.’ That was when our script [and] our endeavors started becoming fueled by political activism,” said director and second-year nonfiction graduate student Karl El Sokhn. “A lot of people who were brought … onto the crew had no idea this is actually something that happens.”

Both Agostini and El Sokhn believe film is a powerful medium to create change and bring awareness to important issues such as kidnapping.

“If we can create culture through cinema, then we’re already doing something better for the world,” Agostini said.