They say the way to the heart is through the stomach, but no one has interpreted that phrase quite like Jack Rooney ’21. “Maneater!,” a film that weaves together music, romance, and cannibalism is Rooney’s latest addition to the horror genre. More importantly, it also happens to be one of the latest additions to the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival.
The frightening film stars Maddie Thomas ’21 as Anna, a cannibal who falls in love with a clueless janitor, Jean. The film documents their relationship as Anna attempts to put aside her unconventional tastes in favor of a new kind of all-consuming love. Unfortunately, that plan is derailed by a determined conspiracy theorist who has devoted his life to unmasking the cannibal who has been terrorizing their town.
The MassIFF will run from April 13 through April 16 in Worcester. “Maneater!” will be screened on Wednesday, April 13, at 8 p.m. in the WCUW 91.3 FM Studio, 910 Main Street.
Rooney created “Maneater!” as his senior honors thesis; his adviser was Professor Soren Sorensen, whom Rooney credits as helping him become not only a great filmmaker but also the person he is today. Sorensen guided Rooney on earlier film, “Meridian,” in which Thomas also starred. Both films were “tremendous learning experiences,” Rooney says, “and each had its own unique set of difficulties” that benefited from Sorensen’s guidance.
One of the biggest issues they encountered, Rooney says, was filming safely during the pandemic. He often found himself as the “one-man-band behind the camera,” which increased the value of moments between takes — when a lot of organic ideas were fostered. “Those moments are definitely something I feel like we missed out on in having to do things very run-and-gun, and something I’m really going to try to make space for on future projects,” he reflected.
Rooney, who majored in screen studies at Clark, is currently working as a production assistant around Massachusetts and will soon be joining an independent film project.