Siena Filippi is a 17-year-old filmmaker whose short film, "Happy Glasses" was posted to her YouTube channel just yesterday as part of a portfolio she's using as part of her journey through the college admissions process.
"Happy Glasses" was written, directed, shot and beautifully edited by the talented Ms. Filippi.
That's quite a feat for anyone and is truly a testament to the dedication to the craft that this young filmmaker must possess.
Although there's not a word of dialogue — which all too often becomes a burden in films under four minutes — "Happy Glasses" succeeds in creating two contrasting moods balanced with the uncertainty and tension as the main character — a young girl of unhappy circumstances in a train station going to visit her grandmother — wrestles with the ethical dilemma of whether or not she should turn in the glasses that suddenly change the way she sees everything ... or keep them.
As our audience knows, we love discovering and posting work by aspiring filmmakers and we're happy to present "Happy Glasses" to you here. Enjoy.
In the film's description, Siena writes that "Happy Glasses" was adapted from this story:
"I buried my nose into my brown scarf and gazed down at my feet to escape the bitter cold air that froze my skin solid. While staring at my shoes, I noticed scrapes and scuffs covered the leather. I felt like my shoes; falling apart, battered and bruised. I began to feel the ground rumble and the wooden boards of the bench I was sitting on vibrate. I brushed my long, brown hair out of my face, to see the train emerging from the tunnel. 'NYC Train' it read in brown letters. Again, not my train. I huffed out the air that roamed in my lungs and slouched over more. Massive crowds of people flowed back and forth. It was so thick, that if you tried to squeeze in you'd be picked up in their current. That's why I'm sitting on this bench, by myself. I can be anywhere and feel alone. There could be three thousand people in this station, but it would feel like it was just me. No companion, no guide — just me. Sometimes I think of it like an ocean. There's a sea of people who are all a mystery to me, and they barely even notice I'm there. I wondered to myself if one day I'd able to see the world differently. A man began to approach in my direction, his eyes focused on the train in the distance. A bookbag of overflowing papers hung off his shoulder, and in the back pocket of the bag, a pair of glasses just barely held on. Suddenly, the train doors began to shut and the man picked up speed, pushing his way through the crowd. The boxy looking glasses slipped out of the pocket and dropped to the ground. I quickly snatched the glasses, and I elevated myself onto the balls of my feet, scanning the crowd for the man in the blazer. He had separated from the crowd, and was trying to enter the train and I darted his way.
"SIR! SI— YOUR GLASSES!" escaped from my mouth. I didn't know I could shout that loud. He didn't even glance in my direction as he hopped onto the train. Once again, I had gone unnoticed. I clenched the glasses in my fist and made my way back to the bench to keep waiting. I fiddled with the glasses, opened them up, closed them, and wiped off the lens with my scarf. I didn't know what to do with them now. I held the glasses out in front of me and peered through the lenses. They seemed blurry at first, but as I brought them closer to my face everything became clearer. I rested the glasses on the bridge of my nose and blinked a few times to clear my view. The crimson red letters spelling out 'New York' on the train, jumped out at me and made me flinch. They glowed so vibrantly — and the people, no one was dressed in all brown anymore- I wasn't dressed in all brown anymore. My shoes were still leather, but a nice, smooth, slick, leather and my scarf was woven with baby blue threads of soft cotton. Everyone and everything looked happy. Suddenly, I felt the muscles in my face tighten, something that was happening to me that never happened before. I smiled. They were magic glasses. I hopped up out of my seat and decided to give the lady at the front desk the glasses for the lost and found.
"Excuse me Miss, do you take things for the lost and found?" I politely asked with sudden boost of confidence. The lady looked up from her book and made eye contact with me. 'Wow', I thought, someone actually noticed me.
"Yes dear, what do you have?" She responded. I grabbed the brim of the glasses with the pads of my fingers and slid the glasses off the bridge of my nose. I gazed back down at my scarf hanging around my neck, it was once again a dull brown, my shoes were scuffed, and that excitement that charged my heart vanished. My shoulders hunched over and I turned back to the lady at the desk.
"O-oh actually never mind" I mumbled, hiding the glasses under the desk. I waited for her response, but she was reading her book again. She didn't seem to care enough to give me the time of day, so I spun around. With my back to her, I slowly put the glasses back on. The vibrant colors seemed instantaneous. I felt a little spark in my heart that I had never felt before. I fixed my posture and strutted my way back to the bench with a shining smile."
A Google search of the text seems to indicate that the story was also written by Filippi.
For more films by Siena Filippi, please check out her YouTube channel, Simply Siena.
Good luck with your college applications, Siena. We hope this article helps and that you'll keep making beautiful films.