Discussing sound-layering techniques with other filmmakers. Publicizing your documentary or music video to a large audience. Forming connections with real-life movie producers.
At the San Mateo County Libraries’ 10th annual Teen Film Festival, filmmakers from 9th to 12th grade presented their short films in front of a panel of judges and an audience of 25. Hosted in the Taube room of the Belmont Library on March 10, viewers sat through 15 short films that showcased the creativity of teens from all around San Mateo County.
“I think these film festivals are really cool places to see a bunch of kids your age and get your work out,” said Aaron Morgan, a sophomore from Menlo High School who’s competed in the film festival for the past three years. “It takes full days of work spread out over several weekends over a school quarter to make a production.”
In total, the criteria for the judging was based on several features: story, cinematography, editing, sound, set decoration, and acting. Following the airing of their productions, the filmmakers were invited to the front of the room where they answered questions from the judging panel. Additionally, the creators then explained the process of making the film, their inspiration for the plot of their production, and how they chose the actors. The four judges consisted of Tom Biel, Steve Pomeroy, “13 Reasons Why” unit production manager Kathleen M. Courtney, and Shea Rouland, a Carlmont senior.
“Last year we had a lot of sentimental films, but this year, we had some horror films,” Rouland said. “The point of the film festival is to help filmmakers meet other people. The creative minds joining together is beautiful and shows so much passion.”
Following the airing of the films, the judges panel then deliberated on the distribution of medals among the 15 competitors. By the end of their decision, Morgan had won first place with “Home,” Lena Reibstein had won second place with “Steps,” and CJ Ward won both third place and the people’s choice award for “The Box.”
“I want to work in a creative medium in the future like filmmaking,” said William Yonts, a junior who made the film “Push and Snap,” and attended the film festival for the past three years. “Filming is the best creative medium because it combines every art form and you can show it well. Going to these film festivals, I’ve improved my works and how I think about them.”