Three separate teams of Huntington High School filmmakers are vying in this year’s 10 Day Film Challenge. Huntington’s video arts program has developed a national reputation and many of its alums have moved on to some of the most prestigious college film programs in the country.
10 Day Film Challenge contest rules require participants to write, shoot, edit and score a movie in just 10 school days. The teenagers can only work on their film on school property. No one is permitted to work on the project on weekends or at home.
“This year’s 10 Day Film Challenge is slightly different than in the past since the state level contest was discontinued and we are now competing in the multi-state challenge, which includes many more competitors,” said art teacher Heather Swan, who leads Huntington High School’s film program.
Lots of planning goes into the films. “The teams and each person’s role in the production are discussed ahead of time and some story ideas are thrown around,” Mrs. Swan said. “On day one each team picks one of the specified genres out of a hat and the other story requirements are presented to us. Our obstructions (requirements) this year were to use Casey Hatcher who always has a lucky object with him/her, a camera as a prop, ‘that makes perfect sense’ as a line of dialogue and an extreme close-up as a cinematic technique.”
Huntington will have three films vying for a position in the top 30 included “Binge Watch,” which is a thriller, “Capturing Love,” a romantic movie and “Snitch,” which fits into the “technology gone wrong” genre.
“I am so proud of the efforts put forth this year by the three teams,” Mrs. Swan said. “The videos are so incredible they are bound to wow the 10 Day Film Challenge judges.”
The three films and many others will be shown publicly at Huntington High School’s 10th annual film festival at Cinema Arts Centre on Tuesday, May 28 at 7 p.m.
The young filmmakers involved in this year’s competition are exhilarated by the experience. “I got to collaborate with an amazing group of peers for nine days of craziness,” Caitlyn Palermo said. “Together we were able to create a film we are very proud of and hope to go as far as possible in the 10 Day Film Challenge.”
Huntington has found success in previous film competitions and participants in this year’s 10 Day Film Challenge are hopeful they will follow in their predecessor’s footsteps.
“Participating in the 10 Day Film Challenge was definitely an interesting and eye-opening experience into the world of filmmaking,” John O’Brien said. “Working with a big group allowed us to get the actual feel of how a film set works, with certain people handling different tasks in order to put the whole movie together. It was also very exciting to see how the story evolves from the time of scriptwriting to filming and then finally seeing the story come to life is a very cool feeling. I would say that even though this is an extremely challenging process, hence the name 10 Day Film Challenge, it is one of my favorite projects to have worked on, because it really gives the feel of working on a real film.”
With all of the other academic pressures faced by the students, it’s remarkable the three teams were able to develop such outstanding short films.
“The 10 Day Film Challenge is definitely one of the hardest times of the year for me, yet I gain so much experience from it,” Grace Tyrell said. “The challenge helps me improve my videos tremendously and work with others on building creative ideas.”
The entire enterprise proved to be completely educational. “The 10 Day Film Challenge was super fun, but also a big learning experience because we were forced to think creatively and work quickly within our groups,” Megan Agrillo said. “It also taught us a lot because everyone had to step up, be responsible and do their part or else we would have never successfully finished our project.”