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.
“There are a lot of good films by young filmmakers,” Mr. Hing said. “A lot of kids are very visually sophisticated at a very young age.”
The advance of cell phone technology, and the accompanying boom in software, has contributed to the early sophistication, he said. That students could more easily access to video, sound, and editing equipment also helped.
“One thing I’ve been noticing is the level of technology has been increasing over the years,” said Mr. Hing, “Almost anybody can make a reasonable, good-looking film.”
Williston’s Film Fest was founded in 2008 by Rafael “Raffy” Cortina ’09. Mr. Cortina, who graduated this spring from Occidental College, was recently awarded a Student Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his film, “Bottled Up.”
Out of the 50 entries to Film Fest 6, a third of those were selected for the juried screening on May 9. The trio of judges—Patrick Burns ’89, editor at the Northern Lights Post; Loren Feinstein ’01, director of the documentary “Ciclovida: Lifecycle”; and Andrew Hutcheson of Zandrak Productions—then selected winners for seven categories. Best motion picture honors went to by Vivian Xiao of The Hotchkiss School for “Kaleidoscope.”
Three Williston students were also singled out for recognition. Charles Frank ’13 won the best music video category with “Tempus,” Jilly Lim ’13 was awarded best screenplay for “The Guilt,” and Anthony Leung ’15 earned best editing honors for “Dynamic.”
Mr. Hing said what distinguished the winning films were details such as depth of field, cinematic qualities, and story development.
“The ones that stand out are the ones that have strong content, are done with intent, and made with real attention to details,” he said. “They took that extra step.”
Film Fest 6 Winners
Best Motion Picture: Kaleidoscope
Vivian Xiao, The Hotchkiss School
Best Documentary: Indomitable
Brian Ryu, The Hotchkiss School
Best Music Video: Tempus
Charles Frank, Williston Northampton
Best Animation: Laundry Rider
Tom Greto, PVPA
Best Screenplay: The Guilt
Jilly Lim, Williston Northampton
Best Cinematography: The Factory
Harry C.Manning Weston High School
Best Editing: Dynamic
Anthony Leung, Williston Northampton
Honorable Mention: “Larry & Rick”
Tom Greto, PVPA