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ConVal: From author to filmmaker

  • ConVal High School Freshman Olivia Mullins of Peterborough was recognized for her short film "I'm with the Band" where students talk about their experiences in band. (Ashley Saari / Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • ConVal High School Freshman Olivia Mullins of Peterborough was recognized for her short film "I'm with the Band" where students talk about their experiences in band. (Ashley Saari / Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • ConVal High School Freshman Olivia Mullins (middle) along with bandmates Isabel Dreher, left, and Bronwyn Tyler-Wall. Staff photo by Ashley SaaRI



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Since the time she was a child, making movies with her camera and Barbie dolls, Olivia Mullins has been fascinated with film.

“I always wanted to be a writer. At first I thought I would be an author. But my first thought was always, ‘After they publish the book, it’ll be a movie.’ I was always planning the movie before the story,” says Mullins, 15, of Peterborough.

So, when her photography teacher told her class about the upcoming New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival, Mullins knew right away that she wanted to participate.

Mullins’ short documentary-style film “I’m with the Band” was not only chosen to be one of the films showcased by the festival in its upcoming two-hour screening tour, but it was also recognized as a finalist for the Jury Award. While falling short of the award itself, Mullins and two other finalists were awarded a prize package of film software valued at more than $1,700.

Mullins, who plays the clarinet, interviewed several of her ConVal High School bandmates for the film, asking them about how they got started in band and why they play the instrument they do.

For a lot of them, says Mullins, the answer was the same: Their parents had gotten them into it. That’s a sentiment she understands, says Mullins, as both her parents and grandparents were in band and introducing her to an instrument was important to the family.

“I think that you start band because your parents did it,” says Mullins. “You continue band because of the people.”

Bandmates have become some of her best friends – close to family – she says, especially after her family moved to Peterborough from New York when she was in the seventh grade and she found band to be one of the best ways to connect with new friends.

Filmmaking was a learning process, says Mullins. You can’t have a film about band without music. And you can’t have music in a film without dealing with copywrite, as just one example.

But now that she’s had a taste, she’s eager for more. Mullins anticipates submitting films to the High School Festival for the rest of her years in high school. And she hopes to explore some different genres.

“I think making a silent film, or a horror movie would be great. I want to try out different things,” says Mullins.

Mullins’ film will be featured in the two-hour festival screening, which will show at selected theaters around the state, including the Peterborough Community Theatre on July 12. Two other student films from ConVal will also be shown – “REM,” a surreal film where a day in class turns into a nightmare, and “The Hall Monitor,” a short comedy about a student gone mad with his supposed power. These films were made collaboratively with teams of photography and theater students. For more information, visit http://nhstudentfilm.com/.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com.