no image available

This is Page 2

Student Filmmaking, cont.

Like Jones's high school, many Frederick area high schools offer beginning filmmaking classes. However, much of the work produced by these students is usually not seen outside of the school. On March 26-27, 2011, the 3rd Annual Frederick Film Fest offered a venue for the showing of student films.

Ed Morrell, the volunteer coordinator for the fest and a volunteer himself, helped solicit films from area high schools. "I teach history and sociology at Poolesville High School. I used my connections to contact teachers at area schools to ask for films," Morrell said. "We received a lot of films. We expect to have many more next year now that the word is out."

Dennis McKinney, associate director of Annual Giving at Hood College's Office of Institutional Advancement, has worked with the Frederick Film Fest since it began three years ago. This year, from those submitted, nine films were chosen for the high school student film competition. "There were some that were really good," said McKinney, "but they could not be used because they were not in the right format." Others, he said were good but were too long or couldn't be played.

Besides offering an event to showcase student films, the Frederick Film Festival offers the filmmakers an opportunity to compete for prizes. Filmmakers are encouraged to be present for the screening and the awards ceremony that follows.

Michael Tully, a Frederick filmmaker and Sundance Film Festival-accepted director was this year's guest judge. Tully is a graduate of Linganore High School in Frederick. He directed "Septien," a film shown in January 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival. Students were eligible for three prizes: a bronze award, a silver award and a grand prize: a ceramic trophy cup hand-crafted by Cameron Pitke, a local ceramic artist. The grand prize also included a DVD set of royalty-free and license-free stock digital film footage worth $1,200.

Another event in Frederick that encourages student film competition is the Frederick 72 Hour Film Fest, which is held during the first weekend of October. Participants compete in several categories: professional, amateur and student. The student category is not limited to the Frederick area. High school and college students from anywhere are welcome to compete.

The basic rules of the competition are the same for film teams competing in every category. Filmmakers wishing to compete meet at a launch party on the Thursday before the weekend of the event. Here they will receive their assignments. Each team is given a specific assignment to ensure that preconceived ideas cannot be used. For example, in a previous year, an opening line from a different novel was given to each team. The team was instructed to create a short film that would be a continuation of that line. Another year, various fairy tales were given to each team. The teams must then create a short film that relates to whatever initiative they receive. Their film must be created entirely from concept to finish (written, directed and edited) within a 72 hour time frame. To be eligible for judging, the teams must finish their assignments and submit their entry before 9 p.m. on Sunday. If they fail to meet the deadline, the film will not be judged.

All submitted films will be shown five days later at the Weinberg Center in Frederick as a "World Premiere Event" on Friday night. Awards are given for various aspects of the films, such as best acting, best screenplay, best cinematography, and many more. Whether a student film wins an award or not, all students will receive recognition as a participant in the festival.

Filmmaking is now within the financial reach of many potential filmmakers, even student filmmakers. For an extremely low budget, a dedicated production crew with a group of actors willing to take a chance on future financial compensation can produce a full-length film that will rival many of those currently produced by Hollywood movie companies. Without realizing it, moviegoers have been going to the movies and viewing the films of independent filmmakers for some time now.