If there’s one thing that Ed Hing has noticed over the six years Williston Northampton School has been holding the Film Fest, it’s that entries are getting stronger—and student filmmakers are getting younger.
This year, the annual film festival accepted entries from more schools than ever before, including newcomers Weston High School, Mount Greylock Regional High School, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, and Connecticut IB Academy.
Mr. Hing, a fine and performing arts teacher and festival organizer, included a new music video category, which he said was popular among student filmmakers. For the first time, he also opened the festival to submissions from Middle School students.
When he first read the email last week, Rafael “Raffy” Cortina ’09 thought it was a prank. He had submitted his senior project, a short film entitled “Bottled Up,” to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but wasn’t expecting to hear back so quickly.
“The announcement came a week early and caught me off guard,” Mr. Cortina said.
What the email announced was that Mr. Cortina’s senior project for Occidental College, a short film called “Bottled Up,” had won a 2013 Student Academy Award—the first such prize for either an Occidental student or Williston Northampton alumnus.
Mr. Cortina was among 16 student winners in five different categories. The filmmakers will find out how they placed during a ceremony at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on June 8, when they will be awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals.
Created for his senior comprehensive project, Mr. Cortina’s film had a $3,000 budget, a 14-minute running time, and 15 shots that involved green screens. Despite his financial limitations and a tight, two-day shooting schedule, Mr. Cortina said the whole production went “relatively smoothly.”