Student films rock the MIFF festival

by Bonnie N. Davis

The public screening and awards ceremony of the 39th Maine Student Film Festival, held on Saturday, July 16, at the Waterville Opera House, proved once again that Maine kids are not only talented, but also gifted in their ability to tell stories through film.

Jordan Bell, from Colby College Career Center, judged films and presented awards – he is also a filmmaker.  The three categories are narrative, documentary and creative films, with submissions from K-12.

Rebecca Conley

Rebecca Conley, digital and visual producer for MPBN, was one of the judges. Photo by Bonnie N. Davis

Rebecca Conley, the digital and visual producer for MPBN, presented Nichole Knight, a 2016 graduate from Richmond High School, with the MPBN student film award for the animated film, “Spring and the Storm.”  Conley and Bell both judges for the MPBN award.

“We loved the simplicity and beauty of this film.  The art was hand drawn by Nichole – it was amazing,” Conley said.  “It was a tough competition this year, but the simplicity of her message along with the music score were deciding factors.  This is the first time an animation won this award.  “Main Street” and “Vision” were the other films we considered.”

“I haven’t done anything as intensive before,” Knight said, sharing that her vision for this film came from the death of her father a few years earlier.  Knight made her first film at age eleven and never took a film class.  She credits her art teacher with purchasing an animation program that enabled her to create this masterpiece.  Heading off to NYU this fall, she plans to study film and TV programming.

Waterville’s Mid-Maine Technical Center had two student films receive honorable mention, Caitie Collier and Robbie Moore, for their documentary, “A Journey to Guatemala,” and Nicholas Shenett for his creative film “Let Me Set the Scene.”

Robbie Moore

Robbie Moore, along with Caitie Collier, students at Mid-Maine Technical Center, in Waterville, took honorable mention for a documentary. Photo by Bonnie N. Davis

The Huey Award winner, Noah Anderson, came from the narrative category, in the middle school division, with “The Wish” – he is home schooled and produced a thought provoking film.

“First a Boy,” by Emily Kaye of Marshwood High School, was a documentary finalist, and this was her second year receiving honors at the festival.  Her film about kids dealing with transgender transition was timely and poignant. However, Sam Marjerison of Yarmouth High School, won the documentary category with a delightful film, “Yarmouth Clam Bake.”  He interviewed local elders from a youthful perspective that was both informative and engaging.

The narrative receiving honorable mention for collaboration of Wagner Middle School students was “Half Upon a Time.”  Finalist Tyler Delargy of Bangor High School had an edited version of his film “Vision” in MIFF’s short program, “Maine Shorts 1.”  The winner of this category was Connor Petros from Ellsworth High School, for a moving pay-it-forward film, “Main Street,” which brought tears to many in the audience.

In the creative category, Adam Wendell-Pearson of King Middle School received honorable mention for “Eternal Trash” with hard-hitting data about human consumption leading to disposal that is out of control.  Yvonne DePerte of Fryeburg Academy, was a finalist with “The Silent World” – a post apocalypse film.

Jorgensen’s Café hosted a reception for these amazing artists.

Next year, make it a point to view these student films as part of the festival experience.


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