PICTURED ABOVE: A scene from “Occhiolism” by sophomore Louisa Lindsley
New York. Times Square. The doors of the AMC Empire 25 Theater opened on Oct. 7 to welcome throngs of high schoolers from all over the world. But they aren’t just ordinary high schoolers, they are talented young filmmakers attending the All American High School Film Festival.
Held at the center of New York, the All American High School Film Festival is the largest high school film festival in the world. Each year, this international film festival reels in short film submissions from high schoolers all over the world and selects exceptional films to its Official Selection list. All Official Selection films will be screened at the festival and eligible to win awards.
The two-day festival culminated in the Teen Indie Awards Show on Sunday, Oct. 8, where awards were announced.
This year, four Hockaday student films were screened at the festival: “Consumers” by junior Sophie Gilmour, “Never Too Late” by junior Alexa May, “Occhiolism” by sophomore Louisa Lindsley, and “ONE” by junior Emily Ma and senior Grace Zhang.
Louisa Lindsley’s film “Occhiolism” is about a teenager’s self-discovery and standing up for individuality instead of trying to fit in. According to Lindsley, “Occhiolism” was partly inspired by a previous film screened at the All American Film Festival, which was showcased at a workshop she attended at ISAS Arts Festival this April.
“I submitted to this festival because I really liked how my film turned out.” Lindsley said, “I think it’s funny how the festival that inspired me to submit was the one that actually liked my film.”
Louisa made a personal appearance at New York to witness her film’s screening amidst many talented high school filmmakers. Her film was screened on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Grace Zhang and Emily Ma’s collaborative film “ONE” was selected to be screened at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this year. The experimental film, set in a white room and starring junior Megan Muscato, explores the philosophy of collective unconscious. Their film was also screened at several other festivals including the Austin Youth Film Festival and the Dallas International Film Festival.
‘ONE’ screened at the All American Film Festival as part of the Official Selection list on Saturday.
“It feels amazing. I can’t believe that our film has screened at the AMC at Times Square. It’s a really great achievement for a high schooler,” Zhang said. Ma also agreed and congratulated everyone who made the selection.
Alexa May’s “Never Too Late” on making the right choices and Sophie Gilmour’s “Consumers” addressing the issue of consumerism and promoting worthwhile investment will also be screened on Saturday, Oct. 7. “Never Too Late” was also screened at the Pegasus Film Festival earlier this year.
This is not the first time Hockaday films were selected by the All American High School Film Festival. In 2016, Two Hockaday films were screened at the festival—Alumna Anastasia Stewart’s ’16 “Sorry Ms. Steinem” and Alumna Sadie Lidji’s ’16 “Heaven, Ashes, Me & You”.
According to Film Studies and Journalism Teacher Glenys Quick, representatives from the festival critiqued Stewart and Lidji’s films at the 2016 ISAS Arts Festival in San Antonio and suggested that they should submit their films to the festival.
“As a film teacher, it’s always really rewarding and exciting when the student films are in festivals.” Quick said, “I think it’s really good encouragement for the students and it’s also really neat that their films are seen by lots of people and go beyond Hockaday.”
Making it into the Official Selection is “quite an accomplishment” according to Quick, because the All American Film Festival receives so many films from both the states and overseas each year.
Quick also expressed that although some of the films aren’t technically perfect, all of them has an original idea.
“That’s what most film festivals are looking for, they don’t want something that’s seen a thousand times. They want a fresh view of something.” Quick said.
Michelle Chen – Asst. Web Editor