CineYouth Festival showcases students’ films, provides experience

CineYouth Festival showcases students’ films, provides experience

SCREEN DREAMS: In the film “Cash Grab”, two students try to help a hopeless friend get a prom date in exchange for tickets to a concert. Three misfits are all members of a vigilante club in the film “The Robin Hood Heist” (above). Both films were shown at the CineYouth Festival.

Hwa Oh, staff reporter

The Chicago International Film Festival sponsored the 11th annual CineYouth Festival featuring three GBS students’ films in Columbia College on May 7-9. 

Selecting entries from around the globe, the CineYouth Festival showcased the works of driven, young filmmakers ages 21 and under, celebrating their creativity and skills in a public and professional setting. The award-winning films will be featured in the Chicago International Film Festival in October.

Two light-hearted comedy films, “Cash Grab”, produced by senior Richie Colman and sophomore Clayton Horwitz, and “The Robin Hood Heist”, produced by Colman and senior Melissa Pratt, were screened during the CineYouth Festival. “Cash Grab” featured two teenage boys’ quest to find a prom date for a nerdy high school student, while “The Robin Hood Heist” showed the adventure of three teenagers joining a club in search for acceptance.

According to Colman, the experience of having his film presented in a large setting was greatly rewarding.

“Not many high schoolers actually get their film screened,” Colman said. “It was an amazing opportunity and it kind of gives you shivers to see your work on the big screen.”

According to Colman, the equipment used on the set of “Cash Grab” was highly advanced and is almost never available to high school students. Coleman used a Black Magic 4K Production Camera to film, along with other camera accessories. Film teacher Julia Benca attests to the quality of the film and said it received positive feedback from the audience.

“[The audience] was laughing a lot,” Benca said.“It was kind of cool. [Horwitz and Colman] shot their film using a professional camera. They rented equipment for it, so the quality level that they actually shot it at can’t even really [be watched] on our computers, but it was on the big screen projector so it looked really nice.”

In addition to gaining a wider audience for his film, Horwitz also pointed out the festival’s potential to create connections within the film community.

“You get to talk to a lot of filmmakers,” Horwitz said. “You can communicate on what you liked and what you didn’t like about other films just to get your point across, letting people know, ‘Oh, this is the stuff that I like to do, maybe we can collaborate in the future.’”

According to Colman, plans to collaborate with other filmmakers in the future will be valuable in his college journey as he plans to major in cinematography in the fall.

“I did make connections with other people that already attend Columbia College so next year when I attend, I will have already known some people due to this experience,” Colman said.

Pratt commented that such collaboration and teamwork was a crucial and joyful aspect while producing “The Robin Hood Heist”.

“Getting to work with all of my TV class on one big film was such a great experience,” Pratt said. “It really let us bond as a team.”

Similarly, on the set of “Cash Grab”, cooperation was partnered with both seriousness and laughs as the producers and actors worked to create their best work, according to Horwitz.

“Everyone got along really well,” Horwitz said. “It was a really fun shoot because everyone was working professionally as well as being friends. One thing that was kind of funny-but wasn’t funny at the time-was when we were shooting the second half of our film outside of Viccino’s. We were just trying to film [and] we had some very expensive, big equipment; it was noticeable, and cars were passing by and so they would always honk.”

As Horwitz reflected on both the hurdles and accomplishments of creating his film for the CineYouth Festival, he commented on his passion for film in general.

“You can create an entire new world from just the image of one camera,” Horwitz said. “You can change people’s name, you can change people’s life stories, you can do whatever you want and put it out for anyone to see.”

Although neither of the films won an award, the students  were still grateful for the experience and proud of their accomplishments, according to Benca.