Students’ Film Wins At International Competition

Students’ Film Wins At International Competition
Students Film A

BERLIN – A group of Worcester Preparatory School students made their film-making debut a winning one this summer, earning recognition in an international film festival.

The film, created in July by four Worcester Prep students with the help of teacher Nancy Raskauskas, was honored for its use of a dialogue line and its special effects in the 2015 Toronto 50-Hour Film Competition. As a winning film, it was screened at the Toronto Film Festival at Carlton Cinema in August.

“They were amazing getting this done in such a short time,” Raskauskas said. “We had 50 hours to film it and cut it down and pick the parts that made it cohesive.”

Raskauskas said she was just a member of the crew as four 11th grade students — Davis Mears, Alex Abbott, Thomas Polk and Jordan Welch — created their entry for the 50-hour film competition, which is sponsored each year by Lost Episode Festival Toronto.

Mears said he came across information for the contest online and thought it would be fun to enter, particularly since Raskauskas encourages her students to do extracurricular work.

“It pushes them a little further to have other critics,” she said. “It also gets them out there to be seen.”

He recruited a trio of friends and at 7 p.m. on the allotted Friday night, they got their contest assignment. They had to create a sci-fi film under seven minutes that included a character named Bob, a pack of chewing gum and the dialog line “I feel safer already.”

The boys quickly decided to go with a time travel theme and developed a story in which a group of characters has to travel back in time to identify the disease one of their peers has come down with, as diseases don’t exist in the current time period. They spent much of Saturday filming and then spent Sunday doing the hard part — post production work. The teenagers said it was the editing, sound effects and score writing that took them the most time.

“The entire process relied on teamwork,” Welch said. “We were down to the wire.”

The poster for the “Little Time” movie is pictured.

The poster for the “Little Time” movie is pictured.

They were really scrambling when their Internet went down as they were trying to upload the video but they did get eventually get it turned in before the Sunday evening deadline.

They didn’t think too much more about it until they started receiving congratulatory emails in mid-August.

“We were surprised yet happy,” Abbott said.

Welch agreed.

“We knew we did a good job but the fact that we made it gave us a lower opinion of it,” he said.

Mears said that via social media searches of the hashtags associated with the film contest, they knew they were up against some professional filmmakers.

“It was like David versus Goliath,” he said.

Nevertheless the film, which they titled “Little Time,” was honored for its use of special effects and its use of the required dialogue line. The teenagers cleverly inserted the “I feel safer already” line when unreliable “Bob” zoomed off in his sports car instead of offering them a ride. Mears utterance of the line continues to generate laughter whenever he and his friends watch the short film.

Raskauskas says she’s proud of the group for taking the time during their summer vacation to take part in the contest. She says participating in competitions and contests outside the local community provides students with a chance to challenge themselves and earn national recognition. In the past students have even won scholarships after taking part in similar competitions.

“It’s good to give them that footing,” she said.

Though aware of the potential benefits of entering their work in film festivals, Raskauskas’ students say the thought that it would be fun to make a film of their own is what prompted them to enter the contest. Fun it was, and the boys already have plans to enter another 50-hour film contest in November.

“Now that we know what to expect it should be smoother,” Mears said.

Raskauskas agreed and said she was looking forward to helping with their next effort.

“I’d gladly do it again,” she said. “It was awesome.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.