Shepaug 8th graders are finalists at White House Film Festival
WASHINGTON — While their friends were in school on just another Monday, four Shepaug Valley School eighth graders were busy. They had to meet celebrities, walk about the White House, and then watch their award-winning film ... with the president.
“There’s been a lot of screaming,” said Breanne Pitt, the eigth graders’ teacher. “And a little bit of tears — all happy, of course.”
Their short “The World I Want To Live In” was screened to more than 1,000 people — celebrities included — on the White House lawn. And what started as a project during Mrs. Pitt’s Video Club on Tuesday afternoons was selected with two other films by White House staff to be screened for the president. They beat out 700 films submitted, and 17 other films nominated.
“It’s really amazing to be here,” said Roxanne Edel, as she stood on the White House steps. “I’d never thought I’d meet these people.”
Edel and her co-creators Sierra Wilson, Lydia Hagen and Kayleigh Hendy had met Ty Burrel, the actor known for his role as Phil Dunphy in “Modern Family,” as well as the cast of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things,” among others, Edel said.
“Sierra got to hug Ty,” Edel said. “He said he never turns down a hug.”
“The World I Want To Live In” is a three-minute faux newscast in which the girls outlined a world without cruelty, traffic and violence. They based the perfect world on their hometowns, the girls have said. The Video Club sent the movie to the White House right before summer break, and a month ago they were invited to the White House Student Film Festival.
None of them expected to be selected, the students have said. The after-school club was just a fun project for the four and three others that couldn’t make the trip, Pitt said.
The victory wasn’t the best part of the trip, Edel said. The girls have toured the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, walked through the White House and visited war memorials, Edel said.
After their film was screened Monday, Leonardo DiCaprio was up with his documentary. Then the four girls and their teacher had more mingling, and more “photo ops up the wazoo,” to do, Pitt said.
On Wednesday, the award-winning filmmakers will return to class.