Richards' junior, Ava Canino, 16, of Oak Lawn, took home an award for the Best Public Service Announcement from Richards' Film Festival on Saturday. (Supplied photos)

Richards' junior, Ava Canino, 16, of Oak Lawn, took home an award for the Best Public Service Announcement from Richards' Film Festival on Saturday. (Supplied photos)

Student filmmakers strut their stuff at Richards Film Festival

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Harold L. Richards’ digital media program hosted its inaugural Student Film Festival on Saturday, Feb. 25 in the high school’s Performing Arts Center, 10601 Central Ave, Oak Lawn.

By Kelly White

Local area high schoolers were able to showcase their digital talents this past weekend.

Harold L. Richards’ digital media program hosted its inaugural Student Film Festival on Saturday, Feb. 25, in the high school’s Performing Arts Center, 10601 Central Ave., Oak Lawn.

Students from Richards, as well as Barrington High School, Lemont High School, Reavis High School,  Argo High School, Neuqua Valley High School, Back of the Yards College Prep, South Elgin High School, Highland Park High School, and Waubonsie Valley High School, Huntley High School, participated in the event.

“The Richards High School Film Festival was a great way for our students to see work from other students all over the Northern Illinois Region, network with each other, and received an opportunity to find recognition in the field of Digital Media,” Aaron Vermedal, Digital Media Teacher at Richards, said.

The film festival was overseen by Vermedal, Richards’ Activities Coordinator, Deb Swanson, and School Principal, Mike Jacobson.

“This is one of the best programs we have here at Richards,” Jacobson, said. “We were very excited to help showcase both the artistic and technical skills of students throughout the area with this event. These kids put out a great product. I highly recommended people to come and see their work.”

Any high school in the Northern Illinois Region was invited to participate in the Richards High School Film Festival. The winners for all 5 categories (Short Film, Public Service Announcement, Commercial, Music Video, Promo Video, and Experimental Video were judged and decided upon by a panel of judges composed of non-academic industry professionals.

“This was a free, local way for our students to see what other students who share their love of digital media are creating,” Vermedal said.

The event served as a fundraiser for Richards’ students to travel to the Student Television Network Convention next month.

The Student Television Network was started in 1999 by a group of teachers who wanted to support and encourage scholastic broadcasting and to provide a forum for teachers to share ideas, ask questions, and learn from professionals in the industry. It includes film, multimedia and other forms of communication taught in grades 6-12 throughout middle and high schools around the world.

In 2004, the Student Television Network held its first convention in Los Angeles where students and teachers convened for several days of education, competition and networking with each other and professionals. That convention has now grown to 3,000 attendees and is taking place in Long Beach, California, this year.

A total of 13 students from Richards, ranging from sophomores to seniors will be going to the convention.

“There, our students will compete with hundreds of high schools from all over the nation in time-based, real world, contests where they must make content such as music videos, news broadcasts, commercials, and Public Service Announcements in a certain number of hours,” Vermedal said. “Our students will work in groups to accomplish this and have all of LA as their field to find the best content.”

Some highlights from the Richards’ Film Festival included: Richards’ student, Kendall Thomas who shot a commercial for his barber. He used his knowledge of shot type, creative editing, and color to communicate the warm and inviting nature of the shop.​

Richards’ student, Amelia Benson created an experimental feature story and promotional video about a small mom and pop bookstore in downtown Chicago called Exile in Bookville.

“It shared with the audience the familiar and nostalgic feeling of sharing one’s love for books and vinyl records with each other,” Vermedal said.

Benson also edited the Robbins Community Water Drive Promo, shot by Rachel Haynes, in which Mayor of Robins, Darren Bryant, and District 218 Superintendent, Josh Barron, shed light on the crumbling water infrastructure in the Robbins community.

“I think the Student Television Network Convention is an insane opportunity to gain experience creating with a team in a time crunch, in a place I’ve never been,” Amelia Benson, 16, of Oak Lawn, said. “I’m looking forward to being able to dip my toes into creating things I wouldn’t normally create, which could potentially aid in figuring out how I’d like to continue working in film and media professionally.”

Richards proudly took home two awards from the festival: one for the Best Experimental Video (from sophomore, Helen Huang) and one for the Best Public Service Announcement (from junior, Ava Canino).

 

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Richards students prepare for the Student Film Festival.

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