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Students roll cameras, win prizes

‘12 Hour Film Festival’ designed as a way to give students a real-world look at filmmaking

Posted: May 26, 2009 7:17 p.m.
Updated: May 27, 2009 10:55 a.m.

The Silver-division winners from Saugus High School, left to right, Saugus students Jacob Dagg, Katie Floyd, Thomas Hess, Nicolas Romano, Mitchell Braxton, Sophia Valentine and Daniel Leary.

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More than 50 film students from four different high schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District raced against time to write, shoot, edit and score a two-to-five-minute film in just 12 hours as part of the annual “12 Hour Film Festival” on May 2.

The mission of the 12 Hour Film Festival, hosted by Living the Dream Productions and Golden Valley High School TV, is to advance filmmaking and promote filmmakers early in their high-school years.

Top honors went to a team from Valencia High School in the Gold (advanced) division, and Saugus High School in the Silver (intermediate) division.

Gold winners from Valencia High School included Nicole Robinson, Kayla Smith, John Savant, Maribel Castilo, Destiny Pineda, Joydyn Byers, Riley Reiss and team captain Cameron Stell. Winners from Saugus High School included Jacob Dagg, Katie Floyd, Thomas Hess, Nicolas Romano, Mitchell Braxton, Sophia Valentine and Daniel Leary.

After being divided into eight teams of no more than eight students in either the Gold or Silver division, each team was given a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre all to be included in their film. The students had exactly 12 hours to complete the assignment in time for judging by a panel of industry professionals. The students, along with their families and friends, were then invited to the screening of all the films.

Jason and Melina Edwards, award-winning co-partners of Living the Dream Productions, developed the 12-hour project in order to show film students a true glimpse into the world of filmmaking.

“Having the time constraint of only 12 hours, the students are forced to collaborate and work together as a unit,” the two said. “It takes so many people working together toward a common goal to make a successful film. I can’t think of a better way to prepare these kids for life in the work force.”

Project partner Charles Deuschle of Golden Valley High School TV appreciates how the students are impacted by this real-life experience. “I love to see the students work under the pressure of a deadline,” Deuschle said. “For some students, the time constraint helps focus their creativity. For others, they are not prepared for the stress, and so conflict erupts ... they learn that pre-planning and open communication are the key to their team’s success.”

Winning films were chosen based on the originality and clarity of the story; the shooting, editing and sound quality; and meeting all the requirements of the genre and assignment. Both winning Gold and Silver teams were given a glass trophy for their school.

“Our ultimate goal is to see this festival grow every year and reach as many high school students as possible,” Edwards said. “We’d love to see this grow into a statewide competition and possibly even a national one eventually.”

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