Coming of age in student short film “Darling”

By: Kristin Helf, Associate Arts & Life Editor

Electronic media and film major and senior Amanda Ferrarese’s upcoming original production, “Darling,” is based largely on her own coming-of-age story, but fiction easily finds its way in.

“”Darling” tells the story of a young woman, Evie Darling, who, upon finishing her first year of college and learning of her parents’ recent separation, decides that she can’t return home,” Ferrarese said. “It’s too heavy.”

After discovering her mother’s journal and learning of her father’s infidelity, Evie takes shelter at her Aunt Dawn’s house in Woodstock, Md.

“So it’s while she’s in this town that she has came to, she realizes that nothing was ever as rosy as it seemed with her parents’ relationship and she can’t just run away from her problems,” Ferrarese said.

Ferrarese said the story is based largely on her personal experiences, although a previously directed study was her “emotional healing process,” and “Darling,” her Film III project, relies more on fiction.

“I did find my mother’s journal and I did learn more about my parents, who loved each other very much but, you know—stuff happens. My way of working through those feelings was to write them into this character of Evie, who I feel is very much inspired by a lot of the young, strong, resilient women that I know,” Ferrarese said. “It’s just about a girl trying to figure things out.”

Ferrarese originally wrote “Darling” as a short story over winter break after reading Emma Cline’s book “The Girls” — about a 14-year-old who joins a cult in 1960s California — which inspired her to write her own story.

Shooting will take place in Woodstock from April 20 – 26, where Ferrarese will work alongside co-director Mark Bessler and producer Senay Fisseha, who are both senior EMF students.

Fisseha says he was drawn to “Darling” by the well-written script and Ferrarese’s passion for her story.

“We had an opportunity to hear everyone’s pitches for the films they wanted to get produced, and I remember speaking to Amanda about it and it seemed like a project she was really excited about, which made me want to join the crew, because of her energy about it,” he said.

Bessler already knew Ferrarese from hanging out in Charm City Art Space, but he was also a fan of the script.

“I’m a sucker mainly for rights of passage stories,” he said.

Because Ferrarese, Fisseha and Bessler are upperclassmen and have previous experience working on student films, they’re not naïve about the filmmaking process. When it comes to production, anything can happen, and the “Darling” crew hopes to be prepared for it all.

“My computer has a really funny way of knowing when it’s like, finals time, or when I have a big paper due, and it’ll just cut out, for any god damn reason,” Ferrarese said.

She advises “planning, planning, planning.”

“And then if you get to set and throw all of the plans out the window, at least you did it, at least you have something to fall back on,” she said.”

She and Fisseha both agreed that it’s also important to allow plenty of time for post-production, when it comes time to put all of the footage together. Bessler said that, when shooting, he’s most concerned with getting enough coverage.

“Coverage in terms of a variety of shots, not just getting wides,” he said. “When I was talking to [EMF professor Joseph] Kraemer about my film two, that was the only thing I thought—I wish I’d had more time to get more coverage. More close-ups, different kinds of shots just so I could have a variety of things to choose, instead of just like, two.”

Although the film is still in pre-production, auditions are currently being held and the crew members are already anticipating their journey to shooting “Darling.”

“It’s going to be really weird, I think, this time around, because I’ll have the added responsibility of kind of directing, but I think that Mark is going to focus on a lot of the directing with the actors, so I can focus on the camera,” Ferrarese said.

More information about the film, and how to donate to the production, can be found at

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