Lionel Jeffries edits a new personal film after three of his films were selected to be screened in a Russian international film festival. Photo by Greg Clark.

Three short films made by freshman film media major Lionel Jeffries at the University of Rhode Island were selected and will be screened at a Russian international film festival.

Born in Tolland, Connecticut, Jeffries has always been passionate about filmmaking since high school. He’s made three horror short films titled “Vagous,” “A Midnight Profound” and “The Necromancer.” Out of these, “Vagous” was the only one shot at URI.

“I love and enjoy making horror movies and things that are creepy,” Jeffries said. “I just like that kind of stuff. All three of them have totally different beasts and they’re all different in their own way.”

His films were selected by a Russian international horror film festival called DROP. At the end of March there will be a live screening of all the selected films in Moscow. The films selected will be dubbed in Russian before screening.

“I’ve always been really interested in Russia and have tried to build bridges with that culture,” Jeffries said. “I participated in the film festival last year as well. I doubt I can make it to the actual festival because of money and getting a visa and all that, but it is a huge honor though.”

“Vagous” is Jeffries’ favorite work so far, in which he also acted in. The title is an obsolete word meaning lost or wandering. The movie is based on the lost souls of soldiers who died at war.

“‘Vagous’ was a real adventure,” Jeffries said. “It was great and it was only a three person project. I worked with Luna Lejoux and Gerson Ramos who are also students. It was just really fun. It was a huge challenge to shoot because of the location. We shot in this abandoned bunker and there was a fire at some point so a lot of noxious fumes were in there but we made it work.”

Luna Lejoux is an exchange student from France who is also a film major at URI. She worked as the cinematographer for “Vagous” and has collaborated with Jeffries in many of her own projects as well.

“I enjoyed the fact that he really trusted me and the way I shaped the image and everything,” Lejoux said. “We worked well as a team. He explained what he wanted to see on screen but at the same time gave me the liberty to do whatever I wanted with the frame and light.”  

Jeffries is currently working in pre-production of a new short drama far different than his previous projects.

“This is definitely a big departure for me,” Jeffries said.  “It’s not exactly a coming of age story. It’s about someone who is really living in the past, who constantly compares themselves to other people and is struggling to cope with being an adult.”

Jeffries’ credits his success to the URI film department. Even though his movies are currently available online, he plans on sending his future works to more film festivals.

“The film department is very hands-on here,” Jeffries said. “The Hub at Ranger Hall is great because they give you the tools to make whatever you want and I love that. I hope that while I’m here at school, in a couple years, my projects will have higher production value than ‘Vagous.’”