Skillful creativity was the main attraction at sixth-annual Keller ISD Student Film Festival, held earlier this month at Timber Creek High School.
“The standard is definitely improving,” said Matt Hill, district coordinator of media production and Film Fest founder.
When the event began in 2009, video entries often had a lot of special effects and clunky transitions. This year’s crop showed more sophistication.
“Now people focus more on telling the story, choosing the right shots and the best angles,” Hill said. “We saw a lot of cleaner entries in younger categories and the higher levels had lots of subtext.”
The contest had a record number of entries, 357 total, about 50 more than last year. About 130 entries were named finalists, and 23 winners were recognized in an Oscar-style ceremony May 8.
Kat Nguyen, a senior at Timber Creek High School, got the experience of helping host the event as a Keller ISD Student Ambassador and being part of a winning entry in the comedy division.
As a host, she got to write her own scripts to introduce presenters, help hand out awards and usher young winners on and off stage.
Nguyen said she thoroughly enjoyed being part of a film production team. The six students got together in Dell Ison’s advanced video production class.
“It was a really fun process,” she said. “It was great to see an idea of ours do that well.”
Hill said that kid videographers showed a lot of energy and creativity, especially in the middle grades in the music video category.
“The level of energy was insane. That editing style doesn’t have a place anywhere else, with color effects and stop motion. It’s a place where people can really go crazy and have a lot of fun,” he said.
This year’s edition of the contest had a few changes. Instead of having an entry deadline of winter break, the deadline was spring break. The awards ceremony moved from early March to early May. Hill said that teachers appreciated having more time to work with students in getting films ready.
Hill also eliminated the weekend challenge (a specific set of props and phrases that had to be used in a film created over a weekend) and initiated a category for public service announcements. Entries in that sector had to address workplace safety. The winning film from Hillwood Middle School students will be shown, in part, to Keller district employees as part of training.
Next year he’d like to make a few more tweaks in the competition, but he’s not ready to reveal them yet.
“I’m not happy to just do the same thing every year,” Hill said. “I want to breathe new life into it next year, so stay tuned.”