Locust Valley filmmakers’ productions were a hit on the big screen as they grabbed the top awards in the 10th annual Locust Valley High School Film Festival. There was laughter, surprise and awe as 54 student films were shown to an audience of aspiring filmmakers. Students from 11 Long Island high schools entered the festival, having their films prejudged by a panel from New York Institute of Technology. The finalists chosen by those judges were presented during the festival and judged by acclaimed film critic Sandy Kenyon of ABC-TV. Locust Valley High School students earned seven trophies for their outstanding films, more than any other participating school. 

After viewing the films, Kenyon shared his professional opinions with the group to help them improve. He recommended that lighting and sound be perfected and suggested that actors be auditioned, rather than chosen from among one’s group of friends. “An actor should hold your attention,” Kenyon said. He said some of the festival’s films covered topics that would not be of interest to someone of his age; however, because of the acting, the films held his attention. “They took an issue that does not translate across ages and made it real for me,” he said. 

Bruce Campbell, Locust Valley High School’s film/TV production teacher, said receiving feedback from a professional film critic is priceless. “When Sandy Kenyon comments on student films, it is always to teach,” he said. “He tells them what professionals look for in films and gives them concrete ways to achieve success in their own filmmaking. Since his experience gives him tremendous credibility, his comments are enormously helpful to students.”

Campbell added that the film festival as a whole is a tremendous learning experience. “Students not only experience having their work shown on a big screen to an audience of their peers, but can also see the work of others and use that to judge their own progress,” he said.

Congratulations to the following filmmakers on earning top awards:

First Place, Documentary: Shanaz Sanjana, “Relay for Life” 

First Place, Public Service Announcement: Kristy Jahchan, “Think Before You Jump” 

Third Place, Commercial: Erin Greselfi and Kristy Jahchan, “The Super Magic Water Pourer”

Second Place, Animation: Genevieve Iglesias, “Doll House” 

Third Place, Animation: Genevieve Iglesias,  “Now You’re Just a Jo Jo That I Used to Know” 

Third Place, Music Video: Charlie Compono and Joe Ovile, “Beautiful Pain” 

Audience Choice Award: Charlie Compono, “BMW: No More Bull”