On May 2, the Blair community came together to view the work of nearly 50 film students and film aficionados at the annual Student Film Festival in Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts’ DuBois Theatre. According to fine arts teacher and festival coordinator Robert Hanson, the hour-long event gave students and faculty the opportunity to shine a light on the “best of the best,” with participants ranging from serious filmmakers to students who simply dabble in video for fun in their spare time.
Submissions were divided into five genres, including fictional narrative, documentary, experimental, music video and commercial films. One winner in each category was presented with a plaque (see below), and prizes were awarded in a number of other categories, such as “best director” and “best actor.” The evening’s biggest prizes were especially competitive: The Smart Water commercial by Chris Tung ’22, Jayne Guinan ’21 and Lucas Economacos ’21 won the “best of the festival” (determined by Blair’s fine arts faculty) and the fictional narrative Narcos Parody by Max O’Halloran ’19, Nate Castimore ’20, John Boellhoff ’21 and Tom Santiago ’20 took home the “audience award” (decided by an audience vote).
“While the weekly ‘Blair Art Stars’ has been an opportunity for the Blair community to see some of the film work that students are doing, the Student Film Festival is a chance to celebrate the work of peers that often goes unnoticed,” said Mr. Hanson of the annual event, which complemented the Student Art Show that opened the next day.
Since joining Blair’s faculty in 2018, Mr. Hanson has been impressed by the video culture at Blair. “Students make videos for everything,” he said. “Beyond the work we do in my film classes, they are producing videos for signature assessments in math and foreign languages, the class councils are constantly creating films for School Meetings, and countless students just make films for fun—even if they are only posted to Instagram or YouTube. My goal is to continue encouraging the video culture at Blair while helping to hone the skills of anyone interested in making films and videos.”
Participating in the film festival increased Victoria Crow ’20’s confidence in presenting her work, both as director of Trial and Error, a film about her sister playing the piano, and writer of 3 Bears, a film produced by Mr. Hanson and a group of students in New York City during a visit last fall. “I hope students got a better understanding of the work film students put in and a better appreciation for film in general,” said Victoria, who took home the “Best Writer” award for 3 Bears. “The best thing I’ve learned from the Blair film program is that no idea is too ambitious if you put in the time and effort.”
Best Actor: Lucas Economacos ’21
Best Actress: Shauna Kwag ’20
Best Writer: Victoria Crow ’20
Best Editor: Chris Tung ’22
Best Cinematographer: Nate Castimore ’20
Best Music/Sound Design: Alice Hwang ’22
Best Director: Max O’Halloran ’19 & Nate Castimore ’20
Fictional Narrative: The Narcos Parody
Documentary: Lacrosse with Robert Walker (by Elise Sigety ’20)
Experimental: Donde Esta La Leche? (by Nate Castimore ’20, Max O’Halloran ‘’19 & Carmen Liuzza ’20)
Music Video: See You Again Someday (by Alice Hwang ’22)
Commercial: Smart Water