Alumni Film Makers Have Skyrocketing Success

Posted by Coralee Holm, Dean of Operations and Advancement

Jul 9, 2013 12:00:00 PM

a-band-called-deathImagine graduating from college and having famous figures in the directing industry swarming at the chance to hire you.  Well, for Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett, that dream became a reality.  The two beat the odds of post-graduation blues spent working at a local restaurant bussing tables.  Covino and Howlett took their education and hit the ground running with ideas for a film that would inspire people; “A Band Called Death” was born from this determination.

The Inspiration

After knowing the Hackney family for 20 years, Howlett had no idea what kind of story lay underneath the musically-inclined family.  Howlett became captivated with the Hackney family after hearing of the 1970’s rock band’s failed success years prior.  The three African American brothers, David, Dannis, and Bobby Hackney had a talent for rock music that record labels turned down with little regard to their apparent talent for the art of music. 

Howlett asked Covino to join his quest to reinvent the once undiscovered band and make a documentary recording their trials and tribulations in the industry.  The two went to the drawing board, hoping to tell the story of the band “Death” through a lens that gave the band the recognition they thought they deserved.  As they recorded the documentary, the love for music and each other helped director’s Howlett and Covino write a story far beyond their expectations.  As a result, others in the film industry began to uncover the hidden treasure behind “A Band Called Death.” 

Being Recruited

After about a year of documenting and editing the film, Howlett and Covino received a tweet from Scott Mosier, American-Canadian film producer, expressing his interest in the documentary and his potential investment; that one tweet got the two on the road to success.  I repeat; a tweet was all it took to allow these two men to produce a film for the world to see. 

With the help of Mosier, all three film directors Matt Perniciaro, Kevin Mann and actor, Jerry Ferrara were able to jump on board and create the documentary into a 98 minute rollercoaster ride of smiles, tears and passion. 

Why this band was not uncovered years ago is a mystery to me, but for Howlett and Covino it was a whim that hit the independent film jackpot. 


To think two men, graduating from a college of 225 students are now having their film reviewed by film critics and prestigious newspapers around the country is mind boggling.  The Burlington College Alumni are blowing up for the world to see.  Magazines, such as The New York Times and The LA Times are intrigued by the dynamic twist of brotherhood and rock music portrayed in the film.  Critics are giving the film excellent ratings as it makes its way up the independent film ladder to be recognized nationwide for its prominence in the rock era.

Death Hits Theatres

So the unanswered question is when is this inspirational film by these two alumni expected to hit theatres?  To see a trailer of “A Band Called Death” click here.  However, the release of the independent film is July 28, 2013 in select theatres. 

So next time you think you’re going to hang that diploma on the wall in your parents house and put on your work smock, remember how one tweet changed the lives of Matt Covino and Jeff Howlett.  Because of them, a story is now going to be unleashed to the world about a band that was robbed of success.  “A Band Called Death” will be forever dated in history as a prominent band with big-time goals in the music industry because of the efforts of two Burlington College Alumni and their aspirations as film directors.   

Topics: Alumni

Burlington College is a small, creative, private liberal arts institution located in Burlington, Vermont on the shore of Lake Champlain. The College has been recognized as having the most free-spirited students in one of the healthiest states in the country.

The College offers Associate, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, as well as an Individualized Masters degree program, and several professional certificate programs.

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