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Posted: 04/23/14


Above, from left, Romeo High School video production students Drew Masters, Sharon Ward, Tyler Ichenberg and Amanda Davis earned awards for films they entered in to the 46th Digital Arts, Film and Television (DAFT) film festival contest. The comedy made by Ward and Masters won Best in Show, and will be featured at the Michigan Student Film and Video Festival on April 26.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

RHS students win Best of Show
at DAFT film fest

Observer Staff Writer
      Two Romeo students will have their film featured in the nation's oldest film festival that recognizes student work.
       Romeo High School senior Sharon Ward and junior Drew Masters received a Best in Show award for the movie they entered into the 46th Digital Arts, Film and Television (DAFT) film festival.
       For receiving the award, their film will be shown at the Detroit Film Theatre, located in the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), during the Michigan Student Film and Video Festival on April 26.
       Romeo juniors Taylor Ichenberg and Amanda Davis were also recognized for their documentary and music video by the festival.
       The festival encourages students to submit entries into one of three divisions: Elementary for K-5 students, junior for grades 6-8 and high school for grades 9-12. Entries were due by Feb. 28.
       Categories ranged anywhere from commercial and public service announcements to artistic, news, sports and animation.
       Stephany Harbison, Romeo High School video production instructor, said the students created the submitted videos as projects for her class, but after a successful outing at the Orchard Lake Film Festival in January, they decided to try another festival.
       "I really thought, if anything, the kids are going to have professionals look at their work and will gain feedback," she said.
       She said she was proud of her students for their awards, adding that the majority of the winners still have a year left before they graduate.
       "I think this is a good boost for confidence," she said. "Next year when they're in their senior shoes and these competitions come up, hopefully it'll be the ignition they need."
       All entries were screened by a jury, with awards given to students showing creativity, idea development and technical awareness. Only the Best of Show awardees will have their films shown at the festival.
       The project Ward and Masters submitted was a comedy called "Stereotypes," showing humorous portrayals of high school tropes like nerds or preppy girls. The project won first place at the Orchard Lake festival, so the duo updated it for the DAFT festival.
       "I really wasn't expecting to win, because it seems more prestigious than high school competitions," Ward said. "I really wanted to be one of those people that could enter one piece in multiple competitions and get multiple awards, so it was gratifying to have that happen."
       Masters said he didn't anticipate winning either, but is looking forward to seeing his film on the big screen at the DIA.
       "It's going to be such a great experience with so many more people experiencing and enjoying the film," he said.
       Best of Show awards included bonuses like scholarships or media items for the winners. Students attending the film festival on April 26 will also have a chance to meet with industry professionals.
       Certificates of merit, honor or excellence were given to all entries. For Romeo, Ichenberg and Davis received excellence certificates for two films they created.
       Their first video was a documentary about Tillson Street that included a zombie invasion. The second was a music video to the song "Alone" by Sleeping with Sirens they created outside of class.
       "It was pretty shocking at first because we just entered it and it was so long to give feedback to us," Davis said.
       Ichenberg said winning the awards gave them more confidence in their filmmaking skills as they continue learning in their production class.
       "I liked making films when I was a kid . . . and I started doing this again and I found out I really liked it," she said.
       The competition will also bolster the student's portfolios, especially as all four students said they wish to pursue video production after graduation. Harbison said other competitions are on the horizon for her students and is also looking into the possibility of internships.
       "It's seeking the possibilities outside of this classroom," she said.

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Retrieved 8/2/2015 at 8:15:12 AM.
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