Festival Showcases Paul Revere Middle School Filmmakers

By Laura Abruscato
Contributing Writer
Photos by Lesly Hall Photography

One silent film, two stop-motion Lego films, and the use of black-and-white were just some of the filmmaking techniques used by Paul Revere Charter Middle School students who participated in the middle school’s third annual film festival on April 26.

Thirty films were shown in the school’s auditorium and 135 filmmakers participated. Industry professionals chose films to honor with first, second, third prizes and honorable mentions, and the winners received trophies and gift certificates donated by local businesses.

There were six categories for which students could enter films from up to one and to six minutes in length.

The animation winner was “Zenarus Walks Home” by Gabe Groenwold. This humorous combination of live action and computer animation told the tale of a toy bot accidentally left in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s who has to find his way home to his young owner.

Paul Revere English, history and film teacher Frederic Vial with student filmmakers, from left, Nikola Wisener, Donya Abhari, Erica Davis, Kimiya Natan, Sierra Sugarman and Annabelle Grandy.

Paul Revere English, history and film teacher Frederic Vial with student filmmakers, from left, Nikola Wisener, Donya Abhari, Erica Davis, Kimiya Natan, Sierra Sugarman and Annabelle Grandy.

In the music video category, first place went to “Where the Wild Roses Grow” by Nico Van Hoen, who used lip-syncing claymation figures against a painted background to reimagine the Nick Cave/Kylie Minogue song.

Filmmakers Spencer Kraber, Rose Morris, Tessa Smigla and Rebecca Whitaker received first place for their live-action short, “The Fixer,” a comedic tale shot on the Revere campus. It told the story of an eighth grade “fixer” whose team would distract staff and sneak into a locked building to retrieve a sixth grader’s needed term paper from her locker.

“The Band-Aid Commercial” by Tessa Smigla and Rose Morris won top honors in commercials with scenes of a skateboarder showing off his moves and then crashing, with a young girl on a scooter coming to his rescue with a band-aid.

Gabe Groenwold’s film, Zenarus Walks Home, won first place in animation.

Gabe Groenwold’s film, “Zenarus Walks Home,” won first place in animation.

“Lovell: The Crenshaw Cowboy” by Shaya Keyvanfar won first place in documentaries by profiling a homeless inventor, artist, veteran and philosopher who is inspired by Michael Jackson.

“Never Again” by Tessa Smigla won first place in PSAs. It began with images of the St. Louis, a ship of refugees from Nazi Germany which was turned away from Cuba and Florida and forced to return to Europe, then showed pictures of present-day refugees and ended with a photo of Albert Einstein and the words “Who are we afraid of ?”

The Spirit of the Festival award went to “Game Over” by Frederic Vial’s sixth grade “Page to Screen” elective class. The film was about a middle-school girl who tries out for a boys-only basketball team, is bullied by fellow students, and then goes on to prove her skills on the court. It began and ended with students talking about their own experiences with bullying.

The festival was founded by Revere parent Lisa Robins, who organized this year’s event along with parents Sage Grandy, Sue Fitzer and Debbie Sachs, English teachers John Dwight and Jon Hyman and assistant principal Justin Koretz.

“I think it gives students a lot of empowerment and satisfaction to see their film on the big screen,” said Hyman, who also invites film industry professionals to visit the school and speak to students.

The Fixer first-place Live Action Short directors, from left, Rebecca Whitaker, Tessa Smigla, Rose Morris and Spencer Kraber.

The Fixer first-place Live Action Short directors, from left, Rebecca Whitaker, Tessa Smigla, Rose Morris and Spencer Kraber.

He also thanked the administration for allowing time for all-school assemblies earlier in the year, where previous films are shown and students are encouraged to join the coming year’s festival.

“I wanted Revere students to have a place to express themselves,” said Robins, who noted that they all receive an iPad they can use to make a film. “The quality level from kids who have been in it all three years has skyrocketed.”

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