Shepaug filmmakers honored for their work
Filmmaking students in Region 12 recently took home two first-place awards at the Connecticut Student Film Festival at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford.
The middle school video club won Best Film for the Middle School 90-Second Live Action Challenge with its video, “The Epic Chase,” and the high school took home the coveted 84 Hour Film Challenge — Best Editing Award with the film “Unwanted.”
The Region 12 Video Production Program, which includes the Shepaug Video Club, along with the Digital Media Communications and Skills 21 classes, had seven other films named as runner-up nominees that were screened at the event, more than any other school that entered the festival.
This is the second year in a row Shepaug has won an award at the Connecticut Student Film Festival.
Last year’s Digital Media Communications class won Best Film for the high school 90-Second Live Action Challenge for the video, “The Woods.”
Senior Tia Phon, producer and actress in the winning film “Unwanted,” said the festival was “an incredible experience.
“We knew if we worked hard, we could win,” she said. “We knew we had a chance, so we put all of our effort and time into this film. It was my last year, and we made the best of it.”
“Something told me we had a really good chance of winning, but when I saw the other films at the event, I wasn’t sure,” said eighth-grader Sierra Wilson, the director of “The Epic Chase.”
“When they announced our video, I was ecstatic with excitement,” she said. “After we went backstage, all of us hugged and realized we can enter and win any film fest by just having fun and working hard.”
Sierra worked on the film with co-producer and actor Darius Moreno and Giacomo Colangelo, editor and stunt man.
This was not the first win for the middle school video club this school year.
In October, the group won Best Film at the White House Student Film Festival for its film, “The World I Want To Live In.”
They were invited to the White House to meet the president, and had their video screened on the White House lawn for the South By South Lawn event, where they mingled with global change-makers, and actor Ty Burrell, actress Alfre Woodard, the cast and crew of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
The other top nominated films this year were “The Spartan Club” and “Spirit Day” for the Newscast Challenge, “Moms Who Need Help” for the Open Film Challenge, “Paranormal Activity in Connecticut” for the Documentary Challenge and “How to Survive School,” which was the second film nominated for the 84 Hour Film Challenge.
“It was really nice to have our work recognized,” said junior Alvin Hermans, who worked on the film “Unwanted.” “Seeing it on the big screen was a great experience.”
“I am so proud of my students,” said Breanne Pitt, the instructor who runs the Shepaug Video Club and teaches the Digital Media Communications and Skills 21 classes.
“They are a force to be reckoned with, and I am excited to see what they come up with next,” she said.