By Madeleine Phillips
The Howard County Film Festival is held annually to celebrate the work of filmmaking students across the county. Students are given the opportunity to submit short films they have directed to be viewed and potentially nominated for awards.
“It’s an opportunity for students throughout the county to try something new. You really need to learn how to work with people and really structure your creativity, and I feel like it’s definitely an opportunity to learn more about yourself and how you work, and how that is portrayed in the film world,” says Mt. Hebron junior Camilla Arriola.
The festival, founded in 2004 by River Hill High School students Yuri Stone and Rebecca Zia, is a student-run organization led by teacher advisors Binki McKenna, Reservoir High School’s Jill Lee, and Oakland Mills High School’s Randi Trzesinski. Community members can also volunteer to run the festival, judge films, advertise and donate.
Although the festival is open for all Howard County students to participate in, most that do submit a film are a part of the Video Production class.
Arriola says, “Being part of Video Production helps me. I get access to equipment and just the flexibility my teachers are willing to offer towards my schedule. A lot of the time I have to miss class to record, and it’s honestly been super, super helpful because without that, I wouldn’t be able to record in-school.”
Mt. Hebron senior Lena Le also submitted a film to the festival. “I had no idea what I was doing in the first place, but film is such an easy thing to learn and it’s such a good way to express your creativity so I recommend it to anyone who wants to do it.”
However filmmakers aren’t the only ones that are able to benefit. The festival provides actors the opportunity to express themselves and expand their skills.
Senior Natalie Gales, who acted in Le’s film, said that the opportunity gave her, “a bit more practice acting in a serious setting. It was definitely a lot of fun because I got to work with my friends in a creative way, and I really do enjoy acting so I enjoyed getting the opportunity to try bringing some life to her script.”
The festival will be held on May 6 2022, at the Miller Library and is open to the public for viewings.