Jake Quinn wasn’t always going to make movies.
When he first started school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015, the 22-year old Attleboro native planned to major in marketing. He said he had been advised to focus on something more practical than “artsy stuff.”
“I got a lot of bad advice,” the Bishop Feehan graduate said.
There was no one film that changed his mind, but as his freshman year went on, he began to notice how he responded to the ones he watched.
“They made me feel such strong, profound things,” Quinn said. “I just figured, ‘If anything can make a random stranger feel things, why shouldn’t I do this?’”
Quinn will graduate this spring with a degree in communications and film studies, but a diploma won’t be all he’ll have to show for himself.
At 11 a.m. Sunday, April 14, his short film “My NSA Agent and Me” will be shown at Bunker Hill Community College as part of the Boston International Film Festival. The film is about a girl who falls in love with the NSA agent she believes to be spying on her through her webcam. It was inspired by a meme about government agents doing just that.
By 2017, it was well known that computer webcams were vulnerable to hackers, who, upon gaining access to the camera, could observe laptop users without their knowledge. And the NSA has been accused of spying on U.S. citizens.
In 2017, however, Twitter users began making light of the controversy, imagining a world in which everyone is assigned an agent who grows attached to their target and worries about such things as their sleeping habits and relationship troubles.
“I saw kind of a love story there,” Quinn said.
Upon the film’s completion in May 2018, Quinn decided to send it out to various festivals he felt selected interesting movies.
While he was thrilled to be accepted to the Boston International Film Festival, Quinn is already busy with other projects.
He next hopes to adapt a script he wrote for a short film into a feature length-film.
The short film, which was written for a class, was about a girl’s visit to the hospital after being sexually assaulted, whereupon what happened to her starts to sink in.
Quinn says a feature-length film could go more in-depth, exploring rape culture and the troubles survivors go through, which he describes as adding “insult to injury.”
As for his what’s further down the road, Quinn said he definitely sees himself heading west.
“I’m wicked eager to move out to LA and hopefully go to film school and start meeting other people in the field,” he said. “Because I’m still in a comfortable state of limbo and get to wait a few years before I have to actually start making money and such, I’m just generally stoked about the future.”