Keller Citizen

KISD festival puts student filmmakers in the spotlight

Gracie Driver watches previews of nominated student films.
Gracie Driver watches previews of nominated student films. Star-Telegram

The seventh annual Keller ISD Film Festival earned rave reviews from young filmmakers who attended the Oscar-style awards ceremony May 12 at Cinemark Alliance Town Center and XD.

“I really liked the atmosphere. The big screen was awesome,” said Sydney Shoemaker, Timberview Middle School sixth-grader.

Sydney, along with her classmate Emerson Senne, won an award in the Story Category at the ceremony for fifth- through eighth-grade finalists.

Because of limited seating in the XD Theater, the evening was separated into three shows by age group. The elementary program maxed out the space, with patrons standing in the aisles.

While the high school show was the least crowded, students still enjoyed seeing their productions on the 60-foot screen.

Brandon Smith, Keller High senior and winner of two awards, said, “It was pretty special. You got a chance to look at everyone’s work and to be recognized. It was a lot of fun.”

For Smith, it gave him a glimpse into what he hopes will be his future. He plans to study film next year at the University of North Texas.

Matt Hill, KISD film fest founder and media production coordinator, said that entries improve every year in quality and creativity.

“More equipment is accessible, as is editing software,” Hill said. “We are truly seeing students exploring different ways of telling the story, different styles and different shots.”

He said the sophistication level—especially among older students—impressed him in the 2015 batch of entries.

The contest received some 531 entries made by more than 2,000 KISD students. The new Vine Category for six second videos on a loop drew a lot of interest, Hill said.

“We’re always trying to keep things fresh, and this was another avenue for them to explore,” he said.

Thanks to assistance from the Keller ISD Education Foundation and a discount from Cinemark, finalists enjoyed walking the red carpet and seeing clips of their films on the giant movie theater screen.

“Going from our school auditorium to the movie theater made it much more special,” said Enrique Ruiz, a Timber Creek High School student and recipient of two awards.

Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231

Twitter: @SandraEngelland