July 19, 2023
Filmmaker and Ramapo alum Anthony Scalia ’16 captured the attention of film festivals and New Jersey locals with his short film “Bendix: Site Unseen,” which tells the story of Bendix Diner manager/waiter John Diakakis, who is a blind, single father to three boys and a stand-up comedian. The 26-minute documentary is set primarily in the diner, which is somewhat of a New Jersey curiosity, having appeared in Weird NJ: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets (Issue 23). Located at the crossroads of Rts. 46 and 17 in Hasbrouck Heights, the diner has served itself up as a set location for films including “Boys on the Side,” “Jersey Girl,” and “The Many Saints of Newark.”
Recently, Scalia appeared on “One-on-One with Steve Adubato” to talk about the film. He also spoke proudly about his Ramapo College education. “I started making film with my friends. My family bought me a video camera when I was young, so I’ve always been doing that and then took it more seriously in high school. Then I went to college and the choice was sort of easy. I was like ‘I gotta go for film’ and I went to Ramapo College.“
While at Ramapo, Scalia experienced hands-on learning by filming and editing videos for the Russ Berrie Making A Difference Award program hosted at Ramapo, which annually honors New Jersey residents whose outstanding community service and heroic acts made a substantial impact on the lives of others. “I learned a whole lot from my professors while I was [at Ramapo]. They were fantastic.” He also completed an internship at PBS (Public Broadcasting System) for the series “American Masters,” a show that shines a light on the lives and artistic paths of people who have made a lasting impact on our culture such as author Toni Morrison, playwright Arthur Miller, artist Keith Haring, and tennis legend Billie Jean King.
Ramapo not only provides opportunities to let students make their own history while enrolled, but supports and promotes their successes as alumni, as evident by hosting an on-campus screening of Scalia’s film when it was released.
The documentary won the Audience Award for Short Film at the 2022 Montclair Film Festival as well as the gold award at the 2022 Spotlight Documentary Film Awards. The film was shown earlier this year at the Ridgewood International Film Festival and the ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York, along with garnering official selections across the country including NewFilmmakers Los Angeles in California, Naples International Film Festival in Florida, and the Dam Short Film Festival in Nevada.
Scalia earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a Digital Filmmaking Concentration in 2016. To learn more about the film program and other visual, performance, and communication arts majors in the School of Contemporary Arts at Ramapo College, visit ramapo.edu/CA.