Menlo’s film festival caps off successful year for the moviemaking program

Menlo's film festival on May 19 included many incredible short films that represented the culmination of a successful year for the moviemaking program. Photo courtesy of Megan Tung.

By Eva Herr and Samantha Stevens

Amongst the many arts classes available at Menlo is the unique moviemaking class that allows students to explore their passion for film. On Friday, May 19, parents, students and faculty gathered to watch the annual Film Festival which celebrated the student movie-makers with a showing of the year's top films.

The crowd piled into Martin Hall and watched two hours of short films covering various topics and utilizing different techniques and styles. One crowd favorite was Morning Hatch, which shed light on Menlo students’ passion for angling and included action footage of these students fishing. The horror films shown included Rearview Mirror, which was about an intruder in a teenage girl's house, and the film Sherman, which followed the story of teenagers going into a supposedly haunted house and finding a murderer.

There were also more emotional films such as Unconditional Love which was a compilation of interviews with married couples about their relationships. Another film, called Kristy Summers, followed the love story of a teenage girl and boy who faced the struggle of maintaining their relationship with the difficulties of schoolwork.

Student filmmakers have been successful beyond their showcase at the Film Festival. With about 20 other contestants in the running at the Sacred Heart Prep International Film Festival (SHPIFF), Menlo seniors Jasmyn Alviter, Zack Hurwitz, and Nikhil Singhal won the audience choice award for their music video titled “One Call Away”. The movie makers’ music video for the song “One Call Away” by Charlie Puth is about a budding romance between a boy and a girl who meet at the train station everyday.

The 4th annual SHPIFF was hosted at Sacred Heart Prep on Friday, April 21. After watching all the contestants’ videos, the voting was put in the hands of the audience via SurveyMonkey. The audience decided upon Menlo’s very own trio Alviter, Hurwitz, and Singhal. The three students were awarded $104.21 for their victory.

All three contestants hold a passion for movie making, which developed through Menlo’s movie-making courses. The students began their participation in Menlo movie making at the start of their freshman year, and returned for advanced movie making their senior year.

At the start of freshman year, when Alviter had to choose an art class to fill her art requirement, she simply thought moviemaking would be an interesting course to take. “Menlo’s movie making class and the whole setup and studio just seemed really cool and really fun to try,” Alviter said. Overtime, her partaking in moviemaking developed into more than just an empty block in her schedule that needed to be filled. Alviter has participated in movie making for 2 years while at menlo, with one of those years enrolled in Advanced Movie Making alongside Hurwitz and Singhal.

For Hurwitz and Singhal, their passion for movie making sprouted together after making short videos throughout middle school together, whether it was for drama or Spanish class. Fast forward to freshman year at Menlo, when Hurwitz and Singhal decided to put their amateur middle school movie making skills to use by trying out Menlo’s moviemaking class.

When asked what he loves about movie making, Hurwitz found himself applying the skills and lessons learned from moviemaking to the rest of his life. “I like being able to start with nothing and just be able to create something really cool [...] and that’s not necessarily just for moviemaking,” Hurwitz said.

Singhal considers moviemaking as a way to connect with his audience and communicate while conveying an important message. “I feel like it’s just fun to be able to tell a story. You can think something inside your head and then show it in a way that everyone can understand,” Singhal said.

The three winners’ passions for movie making lead them to a satisfactory award that included a cash prize, along with invaluable lessons in human connection and communication through the art form of film.

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