Red Carpet Rolls out for Film Festival

Ann Villano
Ben Kinnear ’20, Luke Gardiner ’21, whose submission won the “Grand Jury Prize,” Dylan Kalaydjian ’19 and Dominic Bellido ’20, whose submission won “Best Cinematography”.

The 8th Annual Film Festival rolled out the red carpet for a night of entertainment and celebration of creativity. Last Saturday, the Film Club hosted the eighth annual Film Festival in Walker Auditorium.
The Film Festival welcomed submissions from high school students from several other schools. This year, it showcased 15 works, selected from 38 submissions by students from Hotchkiss, Milton, Miss Hall’s, Riverdale, Rosaryhill, and Sacred Heart.
Carla Frankenbach ’12 and Brian Ryu ’13 founded the Festival in 2012, aiming to provide student directors with a platform to display their talents and to communicate with young filmmakers from other high schools. Skylar Kim ’19, co-head of the Film Club, said, “[The Film Festival] has allowed me to meet filmmakers from other boarding schools. It’s really exciting as we enter college next year to have these connections, which are vital in the film industry.”
In addition to networking with other young filmmakers, participants also interacted with professionals who volunteered to judge submissions. The Film Club heads looked for potential judges from collegiate institutes and the film industry. This year’s judges were Sophia Harvey from Vassar College, Donna Murphy, a former senior vice president at the Discovery Channel, and screenwriter William Kinsolving. Kim said, “We pick judges who are film professors from colleges with excellent film programs. It allows students who are potentially interested in studying film in college to start a dialogue with these amazing educators about what it’s like to dedicate your career to this art and what their course of study could look like in the future.”
The Film Club started preparing for the Film Festival in February. Dylan Kalaydjian ’19, co-head of the Film Club, said, “The most fun part [of] the preparation process is selecting the films [that] go into the festival – I watched a lot of different [works], and I think we [had] a really solid lineup this year, with students from different schools and backgrounds.”
The Film Festival encouraged both new and seasoned filmmakers to share their enthusiasm. Hotchkiss students Dominic Bellido ’20, Britney Burns ’20, Elexis Diaz ’20, Luke Gardiner ’21, Dylan Kalaydjian ’19, Luke Kalaydjian ’20, Camille Poulin ’20, and Ha Trang Tran ’22, were chosen to be in the Festival. Tran said, “[The Film Festival] is a good way to broadcast our passion, since there are not a lot of opportunities for lowerclass students to take a film class. It brings people who are interested in this kind of art together, regardless of [whether] you have any filming experience prior to this [or not].”
Out of the 15 works screened, “Underneath My Skin” by Gardiner won the “Grand Jury Prize,” and “Memories of You” by D. Kalaydjian and Bellido won “Best Cinematography.” D. Kalaydjian said, “The initial inspiration for my film ‘Memories of You’ with [Dominic] was evolving relationships over time. The idea behind the “one-shot” was to create a real sense of flow throughout the film, as it just moved through time naturally and elegantly.”
“Best Screenplay” went to a submission from Miss Hall’s, and a film from Sacred Heart won “Best Documentary.”