ConVal filmmakers on display

Student films make cut for statewide competition; see some at high school tonight at 7 p.m.

  • Courtesy photo—

  • Courtesy photo—

  • Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 6:54PM

For the first time ever, three ConVal student films have made the cut at a statewide competition. “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, were selected for the New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival. The films were created by teams of photography and theater students, with the help of photo teacher Amanda Bastoni and theater teacher Liz Moore. Advanced photo students wrote and storyboarded the films, before turning it over to the Intro to Photography students to shoot the movies, with theater students as actors.

“What was interesting was how much the intro kids got out of it,” Bastoni said, “because they really felt the pressure to produce good material for the advanced students.”

It didn’t take long for those roles to change — these are high school students we’re talking about, after all — and soon, theater kids were behind the camera, photo students were cast in the films, and everyone found just where they belonged.

Moore said that falls right in line with how she approaches her theater classes, where she urges students to participate in every facet of stage, from acting to lighting.

“You can work so much better when you understand where they’re coming from,” Moore said, “and that exact same concept applies to the film project. If you understand what each person’s job, is you can help them and they can help you and everyone has a much better process and product as a result of that.”

Brad Carter, for instance, wasn’t sure quite what his role would be after he and his group couldn’t agree on the topic of their film. But once he took a look at – and a listen to – some of the in-progress films, something struck.

“I was watching them and I thought, ‘Wow, they are missing something,” Carter said.

The young musician had found his niche – he’d score all the films. Carter composed original scores to all the films that were entered in the contest, and his cues and soundtracks push the already-excellent work to the next level.

“It’s fun, it’s my passion,” Carter said. He plans to pursue a career in music production after high school. Carter’s one of many of the student filmmakers who treated the project as career training. Isaac Bacon and Rowan Tyne, who worked on “REM,” both took away valuable skills from their experience. Bacon said the hardest part of the project was working with people he’d never worked with before, and helping them realize the vision.

“We did that well, at the end of it,” Bacon said. “We all heard each other’s voice ... I was really happy about that.”

Tyne said the project built his skills immensely as he learned by doing, setting the stage for the future. “We basically know everything we could possibly do wrong,” Tyne said, “so next year we can come back and really nail it.”

One other student, working independently, also made the cut. Olivia Mullins’ documentary “I’m With The Band” was selected for the festival, which takes place on May 21 at Concord’s Red River Theatres.

These films will be shown tonight at ConVal High School’s Lucy Hurlin Theatre from 7-9 p.m. Other films, created independently specifically for tonight’s event, will be shown as well. Organizer Allie MacPhee promises free cupcakes for attendees, as well as the premiere of her film, “Rain Man 2: The Awakening.”