Arts & Entertainment Editor
Rhode Island College is home to a menagerie of talent. From writers and artists to musicians and filmmakers, there is no shortage of creativity on campus. Student filmmaker and storyteller Jonathan Pineda is only a sample of Providence’s up and coming talent, but someone to look out for nonetheless. Pineda’s second short film, “He Only Comes at Night,” will be available Feb. 2 and with a story written to keep viewers in suspense, you won’t want to miss its shocking release.
“He Only Comes at Night” features two young couples on a double date but unbeknownst to them, there is something lurking in the shadows. Main character Regina (Dylana Deignan), her date (Winter Gamboa) and their friends (Jake Card, Rebecca DeVivo) are forced to face this hidden foe as goosebumps and tensions rise. Viewers are encouraged to keep their heads on a swivel as they watch to avoid any jumpscares from behind.
In an interview with Pineda, he shared with me the origins of his newest project, beginning with his 2023 release: “something is wrong with rachel.” Pineda revealed that this year’s horror short was supposed to be its sequel, but he had a change of heart. “I am not going to make something I don’t love,” he explained, so when inspiration struck for “He Only Comes at Night,” Pineda quickly got to work.
“I [liked it] way better than the sequel… So I wrote it, I have rewrites and the rough draft. I had people look at it, people from my class… and when that gets finalized and I read it and I like it, I start doing production. Usually it’s a whole group doing it but it’s just me so I do pre-production, storyboards, shot lists, schedules. Then I assemble ‘The Avengers,’ as I call them.”
Pineda and his team, nicknamed “The Avengers,” sounded like a blast on set. Backstage was not just a place for work, but a place for friends to do what they love. “In the case of me and my sets, work is one, fun is two. And I think they’re pretty close. I want everyone to come in and have a good time,” Pineda says. He told stories of on-set shenanigans had by the crew with footage to come soon after the film’s initial posting.
Admittedly for Pineda, being on set was sometimes as stressful as it was fun, but filming remains his favorite part of his work. “Filming is when I’m at my happiest,” he confessed. I think we can all agree that doing what we love is oftentimes the most exhausting.
Hearing about the film on and off screen, I was anticipating to know what Pineda was most excited for his viewers to see. “My main actress, Dylana Deignan… She’s uber talented. She came in not knowing anyone, but came out being best friends with everyone because we’re all so inviting. Her performance is really, really good. The short film all depends on her and her performance because I was thinking about her when writing it.” He described the jaw-dropping work of Deignan and her co-stars on set, making for an absolutely chilling tale to be told.
“Besides that, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s reactions. Good and bad because it’s not perfect. I’m always looking to improve so I am looking forward to seeing what people say about it. What they like and what they don’t like and what they want to see from me as a filmmaker and a storyteller.”
As for the future, Pineda is trying to live in the moment. His dream is to be a director post-college, but for now he is working on his career as a student and making films with his friends. “I don’t want to know about the future, I try not to think about it too much. But if I’m telling a story somewhere, I think I did a good job.” Currently, a third short film is in the making with hopes of beginning production this summer. As opposed to the horror-stories that are his first and second projects, his next is said to be a drama with a touching plot.
As for the release of “He Only Comes at Night,” Pineda is most grateful for his cast and crew; “I just want to thank everyone who did the project with me. I love them all to death… I’ll do anything for them.” Pineda’s enthusiasm for his craft and those he worked alongside was clear to me, and I am looking forward to seeing the work of this talented RIC-based team this Friday.
Peer into the shadows to find Pineda’s “He Only Comes at Night,” for a thrilling performance from local students. But be careful of what could be prowling, for you never know what might be hidden in the dark.