Gonzales High School student filmmakers will get their opportunity to showcase their work on the silver screen this Saturday as part of the GHS UIL Film Festival. To celebrate, the Lynn Theater has teamed up with the group to host a free event that will show all five short films created by the local talents.
“They do it all,” said Jami Owens, sponsor of the filmmakers and head of the school's audio/video department. “It's a completely student-driven product.”
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) began offering competitions in film and video production in the 2014 school year. Students could choose between the categories of narrative short, documentary short, or animation short in which to create their stories. Films would have a runtime between 3-7 minutes and the winning entries from across the state would have a premiere at the prestigious Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin.
Owens and her students decided last year to take the UIL up on their offer and submitted a few films for competition. Though none advanced, they tried again this year, making five short films to submit for judging. Of those, their narrative film “Depreciated” advanced to the second round of competition.
“Last year we didn't have any films move forward,” Owens said. “We were happy this year. This gives us another goal to get more films submitted next year.”
The films are shot in the fall with a deadline of January. Films are judged for a month before the big screening in March. A UIL representative estimated there were approximately 500-600 people in attendance at this year's high school premieres, which any budding independent filmmaker would swoon over.
All films are completely student driven with zero production involvement from their sponsors.
For the narrative films, the scripts were written by Leslie Buesing's GHS theatre arts department students. After the dialogue and settings were fleshed out, they were sent to Owens' students for casting, shooting and editing.
The documentaries that will screen at the Lynn Saturday are “Adopt Don't Shop,” which centers on pet adoptions; “A Life in Music,” chronicling the music career of GHS teacher Bernardino Gallardo and his hopes on releasing an album; and “A Ticket to Ride,” dealing with students learning abroad.
On the narrative side, we have the Western “The Dumb vs. The Wanted,” and “Depreciated,” the area-advancing film which was also nominated for the Nobility Social Impact Award during the Austin judging.
The screening is Saturday at the Lynn Theater downtown. Showtime is 1 p.m. and admission is free and the concession stand will be open. Students will be in attendance to introduce their films and to conduct the question and answer session after the films have screened.