• 59°

Charlotte high school students get film festival

CHARLOTTE (AP) — For the first time, Charlotte will have its own film festival for high school students in May.
A lot of prep goes into putting one on: finding a venue, judges and, most importantly, young filmmakers.
Behind it all is Jacob Wishnek, a junior at Charlotte Country Day School. He came up with the idea for the Charlotte Student Film Festival in August after attending a five-week film camp at UNC School of the Arts.
His inspiration for a Charlotte festival was twofold: He loved the festival at the end of camp showing participants’ work, and he has enjoyed competing in Country Day’s student festival, FilmFest. The two events got Jacob thinking about filmmaker friends who don’t have a chance to share their work, beyond posting it on YouTube.
“It can get lost in the fray of cat videos and the Harlem Shake,” Jacob, 17, said. “The film festival puts it on stage and gives them a venue to express themselves.”
The festival will be 7 p.m. May 9 at Country Day’s theater, and entries must be submitted by April 25. Jacob will choose the top 10 entries to show at the festival.
There aren’t many festival restrictions, but Jacob asks that filmmakers keep projects, at a maximum, PG-13. “No one shows up and expects to see gunslinging and ‘Pulp Fiction’ kind of stuff.” Also, films can’t exceed 7 minutes.
The winner gets to have lunch with Bert Hesse, chief executive of Studio Charlotte, and with other film executives. Hesse will be one of the festival’s three judges.
Hesse said he’s looking forward to seeing what young local filmmakers can do, and talking to them about their projects. He plans “to pick their brains and give them positive, constructive … input, and encourage them to keep working at it.
“Someone is going to be making blockbuster movies in the future. Why not them?”
Kim Brattain, owner of Phase2Productions and former news anchor for WSOC-TV, will also serve as a judge, and said she loves seeing young folks like Jacob excited about filmmaking.
“I hope he’ll work with me one day! Heck, I might be asking him for a job,” Brattain wrote in an email.
In addition to finding judges (the third is a Country Day drama teacher) and a venue (the school’s theater seats 350), Jacob had to spread the word about the festival. He’s been using social media, such as Facebook, and also has emailed and met with some area drama teachers.
Jacob recently finished performing as Jesus in the school’s spring musical, “Godspell.” Out of the spotlight, he also enjoys directing, writing and being a cinematographer. His collection of 5-second sketches, “Really Short Films,” won at last year’s FilmFest.
In the past few years, Jacob’s classmates produced homemade “Hunger Games” videos that gained an international following on YouTube (and the four students were featured in Young Achievers). They had been in charge of the school’s film club but graduated last year. Now, Jacob is president.
“He had some big shoes to fill with the ‘Hunger Games’ crew, and he’s been filling them well,” said Erin Springfield, the film club’s adviser. “It’s become a much more productive club under Jacob’s leadership.”
About 15 active members meet regularly to discuss techniques and help each other with projects. “We’ve been gushing about ‘Gravity’ for the longest time,” Jacob said.
He loves so many aspects of art, music, film and theater that he has a hard time picking what he enjoys best. “I want to be a modern-day Renaissance man: act, write, direct, do cinematography. I want to be doing everything.”
Jacob wants to end up in the Northeast, maybe Boston, and his dream school is Columbia University in New York City. But: “I don’t like being a struggling artist.” He thinks he’ll major in business or entrepreneurship and minor in film, wherever he ends up going to school.
Still, his ultimate job would be writing for “Saturday Night Live.”
“I’ve always wanted to perform,” he said. “And I like writing funny concepts. I like writing sketches and comedies.”
For now, he hopes to receive a lot of festival submissions, and that students and film fans attend the free event to support the area’s young filmmakers.
Springfield said she’s proud of the initiative he’s taken, and Jacob said he hopes the festival becomes an annual event long after he graduates: “I’d like to leave behind something that’s lasting.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges