by Helen Stephenson, Yavapai College Film & Media Arts Director
Photos by Bob Shanks
What do Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Wes Anderson and the Cohen brothers have in common?
They all started making films as teens. They were driven, passionate and focused. They knew their path early on and focused on meeting their goals. All those traits gave them what they needed to be successful filmmakers.
Today’s high school students are practically born with an iPhone in their hands. Easy access to film and media equipment can turn almost anyone into an instant media producer. Add to that their own “channel” (through YouTube and other streaming services) and they are practically “in the business” already, right?
Not exactly. The right equipment doesn’t automatically make one a filmmaker. Making a good film means telling a story. What is the beginning, middle and end of that story? Who is its audience? What is that story trying to accomplish? Telling a powerful story through film requires craft and practice. Making films, hands-on, is the best way to learn the medium, understand the teamwork, and create stories that get better each time.
That’s why the Prescott Film Festival and the Yavapai College Film & Media Arts Program have created the High School Student Film Competition. The competition opens in November to middle and high school students across the state. Aspiring filmmakers will submit their work – one short film, 10 minutes or less – to the competition through the Prescott Film Festival website: prescottfilmfestival.com.
The competition entry fee is $10. Winning student films will be screened as part of The Prescott Film Festival, June 8 – 16, 2018. Their creators will receive a Filmmaker Pass to the festival – allowing them access to everything (except the wine tasting). The director of the first-place winner will receive a three-credit class in the Yavapai College Film & Media Arts Program, valued at $315.
Film & Media Arts classes are taught at YC’s Verde Valley Campus in Clarkdale, as well as online. Production and animation classes are conducted in person. Screenwriting is offered online. Some FMA classes are also offered on the Prescott Campus.
The Prescott Film Festival and YC’s Film & Media Arts faculty agree that getting students onto a college campus early can be a wonderful opportunity and an eye-opening experience. It encourages students to develop in a fun and supportive environment, while learning from other filmmakers and media professionals. Their films also get an audience, and they get the thrill of seeing and hearing audiences react to their work for the first time.
Keep an eye on the Prescott Film Festival website (prescottfilmfestival.com) for more details on the High School Student Film Competition in the days and weeks to come. And if you’re a student filmmaker, gather your best ideas … and put them in front of a lens.