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Filmmakers Take Home Nine Statues at Prestigious Festival

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Locust Valley High School filmmakers used specific lighting, camera angles, carefully crafted scriptsand the right actors to create films that would evoke emotions in their audiences. In a variety of genres, the students told stories that made the audience feel connected to their characters or storyline. Their efforts paid with nine awards at the 14th Annual Locust Valley Film Festival held on March 28.

Competing against students from nine schools across Long Island, the films were judged by acclaimed ABC Entertainment Reporter and movie critic Sandy Kenyon. Mr. Kenyon sat quietly during the festival as 66 films were shown, making notes about the acting, the scripts, the lighting and other technical aspects.

Mr. Kenyon, who has judged the high school’s film festival for nine years, does not know from which schools the films originate as he judges. Before the awards are given, he offers his constructive criticism to help the young filmmakers improve.

He often talks about using the students who perform in the school plays as the actors and making sure the lighting is appropriate. This year was no different as he pointed out that actors should not be in front of bright windows. “I could not see the actor’s face,” he said. While the comment may sound critical, the young filmmakers will likely not make that mistake again.

Overall, Kenyon said this year’s festival was one of the best he’s been to at Locust Valley. “I learned more this year,” he said, explaining that the films meant something and he was interested in what they had to say.

Taking the trophy in six out of 12 categories, the Locust Valley students proved that they are perfecting the skills they’ve acquired in their film classes and learning from the advice Kenyon offers each year.

Locust Valley High School film teacher and film festival organizer Roger Boucher said this seemed to be the most competitive year in the history of the festival, with every school winning at least one award. 

“The thing that makes me most proud is the success we achieved at every level,” Boucher said. “It’s great to see students from every course in our program rewarded for their hard work and dedication. We are a very young program and I think our best is yet to come.” He said winners came from the high school’s Media Studies, Filmmaking and IB Film courses.

Participating schools submitted their film entries before the festival for prejudging by professors at Five Towns College. The finalists were included in the festival for judging by Kenyon.

Community members packed the high school mini-theater on March 25 for Monday Night at the Movies, a free screening of the Locust Valley student films in advance of the festival.

Congratulations to Locust Valley’s award winners:

First-Place Awards:

Comedy: “Not Today” by Reed Barcellos, John Madsen, Matthew Pisciotta

Editing: “Intervention” by Madeline Daly, Ava Ireland

Public Service Announcement: “Attack of the Ad” by Trinity Benstock, Maria Bubulinus, Christina Pierno

Best Director

“Brads Town: Age of Amoral” by Anthony Madsen

Second-Place Awards:

Cinematography: “Brads Town: Age of Amoral” by Anthony Madsen

Comedy: “The Felonious Perpetrator” by Alexander Gianoukakis, Brian Graham, Nick Sanchez, Jack Pflaumer

Documentary: “Pulling Through” by Madeline Daly

Sound Design: “Intervention” by Ava Ireland, Madeline Daly

Third-Place Award:

Music Video: “Your Love” by Alexander Gianoukakis, Nick Sanchez Reed Barcellos, Doran McCormack