The Binghamton Film Initiative began as an idea. Tyler Downey, a Theatre/English Major at Binghamton University saw a surprising miscommunication between the Theatre and Cinema departments. The idea was simple, create a connection between the two complementary departments that has in the past been virtually non-existent.


Tyler took his idea to a friend and fellow film student, Jared Biunno. Then, at the incubation chamber commonly known as a kitchen table, this idea began to flourish into much more. The two agreed on the lack of communication in the departments and began devising a plan that would change this; their method, the internet. Through a unique interactive website, both knew that students could more easily congregate and begin turning their film dreams into reality.

Jared at a shoot. (Left) Tyler on set (on bed)


Jared and Tyler were familiar with the unsuccessful past attempts of other students with similar ideas. Yet, they continued to move forward. They knew that they wanted to do what others had not done: gain the support and approval of the departments. This would create a presence on-campus which could possibly reach great future heights. But first, a legitimatization of the idea had to be made. Before presenting anything, the two wrote/directed/ and produced an infomercial, “The BFI Commercial”, as a way of showing everyone how serious they were about this project. It would be utilized as a promotional tool for marketing and expansion, but firstly as a presentation of their inspiration.


The result was fantastic.


Through making the commercial, Tyler and Jared began to slowly realize that they had begun to achieve more than just a “legitimizing” of their initiative. A group of strangers from all different majors came together and collaborated to create content and work towards the same goal. In the process, friendships were made and fun memories were had. The two knew that BFI could grow into a platform for much more than just filmmaking. It could allow students to outsource their ideas, meet people and express themselves. The thought of it was simply beautiful. Just like their original motto had stated, all they had to do was to bridge the gap…

 The cast and crew on the set of the BFI video shoot

The idea was spread and the buzz started, another successful move as the two progressed forward. BFI gained the gracious and well-received support of Barbara Wolfe and the Theatre Department, which allowed them to set up a meeting in Studio B. About 40 inspired students showed up to learn more about the project, and BFI had begun. Then, with the help of friends Mike Zagreda and Adam Heimowitz, the website followed suit.


But, Jared and Tyler knew one thing. Two people could not make this happen. So let this not only act as an “About BFI”, but also a casting call for creators and idea-makers. Join us at BFI and achieve your film dreams. BFI knows that every student out there has an urge to express themselves in some way. Let BFI help you find that expression, so you can show the world. Until then, BFI is just an idea and a website.


BFI is here. Now, we wait for you.