Video festival builds skills and friendships

Video festival builds skills and friendships

Carolina Rodriguez, staff reporter

With adrenaline flowing through their veins and excitement in the air, the eager TV and film students of South flood the buses as they head to Naperville for the Midwest Media Educators Association (MMEA) Video Festival. Glenbrook South would go on to win 22 awards as a school this year, six of those being National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) awards.

After a lot of hard work and dedication, South students made this year one of the most successful that Glenbrook South has had at MMEA, according to Julie Benca, TV and film teacher.

“I’m obviously really really proud of my students,” Benca said. “This was a fantastic year for us and I think it might be the most awards we’ve ever come away with from the film festival.”

At the event, senior Aaron Gallegos was the recipient of eight awards, including two Student Emmys as well as a first place finish for his commercial for the app Postmates. Although he has won several awards in the past, winning his first Student Emmy was the highlight of all his years at this event, according to Gallegos.

“Last year, I was not sure if I was going to win something and that was when I got my first Student Emmy for cinematography,” Gallegos said. “It was definitely a highlight; I felt very validated as a filmmaker and that I was on the right pathway.”

Aside from individual awards, groups of students won awards as well. One of the groups that received an award was The Glenbrook South Report, which won an award in the New Program category, according to junior Helen Neppl. Neppl and seniors Meg Aki and Sammi Boas took home second place, according to a list of awardees provided by MMEA.

“It was really exciting for me because there was so much competition with the many submissions from our school and others,” said Neppl.

The awards show provides a window for students into the world of professional film and helps them explore career paths, according to senior Jack Abrahams. Abrahams, who won first place in cinematography at this year’s competition, also collected third place awards for both an iPhone commercial and a documentary.

“Our television program here at South is extremely privileged; we really are one of the best film programs in the state at the high school level,” Abrahams said.

Aside from the professional world of film, competing in this award show allows students to acquire skills that will help them in their pursuit of college and careers other than those in TV, according to Gallegos.

“In a world that’s becoming more electronic, you gain a lot of great skills you may use later on,” Gallegos said. “If you have a business internship and they need you to make a video, you have those skills now.”

The TV program at South has a really strong relationship with each other and the awards are a way for the students to just unwind and have fun with friends, according Abrahams.

“TV is such a close community and it’s just exciting to have this whole entire day off from school where you get to go and see some of your close friends, win awards and go to Portillos afterwards,” Abrahams said.

According to Gallegos, students shouldn’t be afraid to put themselves out there and get involved with the TV and film program by submitting their work.

“We’re a big happy family and if you don’t have your place at South, TV can definitely become that,” Gallegos said.