Hollywood filmmakers have the Sundance Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, and of course the ultimate event – the Academy Awards. Across Long Island, high school students work just as hard to prepare for the Locust Valley High School Film Festival, an event that brings aspiring filmmakers together to honor the best of the best in seven categories.

After months of writing, editing, acting, and producing, students from 13 Long Island High Schools came together to have their films judged by acclaimed film critic Sandy Kenyon of ABC News. Kenyon scored each entry in the categories of movie trailer, animation, public service announcement, commercial, documentary, music video, and short film. A winner and a runner-up in each category were awarded trophies, as well as scholarships from the NY Institute of Technology; $1,000 for winners and $750 for second place.

The festival, organized by Mr. Robert Zahn, Ms. Gypsy Notov-Lew, Dr. Judith Marino, and the LVHS Parent Council, provides an opportunity for students to view and learn from the work of their peers in other high schools. It is also an occasion for Locust Valley to showcase the top-quality films that come from the high school’s TV Production class and Film Club, both taught by Mr. Zahn.

Submissions from each of the participating high schools were submitted for pre-judging by volunteer critics from C.W. Post and the New York Institute of Technology. The finalists chosen during this step were then shown at the film festival and judged by Mr. Kenyon, who was not told which schools the films were from until after his selections were made.

Every student who participated deserves recognition for their hard work and exceptional end result. Locust Valley students took home seven awards in five separate categories and received rave reviews from Mr. Kenyon. The winners chosen from Locust Valley are as follows:

First Place:
Movie Trailer: Freddy Derenthal, Nick Sorbora, Matt Ventrella, and Anthony Viggiani
Animation: Joe Casalino, Jon Kaplan, Anthony Nastasi, Steve Sammut
Commercial: Eamonn Boyd, Luke Palermo, Joseph Sorbara

Second Place:
Movie Trailer: Colin Kennedy, Nick Parra
Public Service Announcement: Matt Rieger, Alex Spear
Commercial: Victor Cafaro, James D’Arpa, Brendan Maraboli
Documentary: Christian Manzi, Matthew Rieger

Participating schools included Baldwin High School, Brentwood High School, Great Neck North High School, Locust Valley High School, Massapequa High School, Oceanside High School, Roslyn High School, Seaford High School, Southside High School, St. John the Baptist High School, Uniondale High School, Valley Stream High School, and Wheatley High School.

Besides Locust Valley’s wins, Massapequa, Seaford, Baldwin and Southside each had a first-place film. Oceanside, Uniondale, and St. John the Baptist each had a second-place film.