Film Fest 43 At The Alex Theater

Claudia Anaya

The inaugural Film Fest 43 showcased the filmmaking talents of high school students from the 43rd district of Assemblymember Paul Krekorian on May 16 at the Alex Theatre.

More than 100 films were submitted and judged by Doug Ward, UCLA academic administrator animation workshop; Robert Peterson, chair at the MFA film program at the art center; and Michael Petros, head of the media arts department at GCC.

Krekorian explained the purpose of putting on the film festival: “I wanted to show the dual purpose of encouraging high school students in creative arts and assisting the development of future talent and film and television industry.”

More than 200 people filled the seats of the Alex theatre where the top 23 short films were shown.

The top films were awarded in categories that included; best experimental music video, best animation, best narrative, best documentary, and finally best of show.

Anna Tschetter, 17, from John Burroughs High won best of show and best narrative for her piece, “The Reflection” winning four tickets and a parking pass to Disneyland, courtesy of the Disney company, one of the sponsors of the film fest.

“The festival was very encouraging and it was great to see work from everybody,” said Tschetter.

Even though it was difficult for the judges to choose the top pieces, they were unanimous in choosing the best of show.

“It was head and shoulders above the rest, it showed a high degree of sensitivity to the language of cinema. It had great use of close ups, longer shots, medium shots, lighting, framing, and editing,” said Petros.

It was shot mostly at night and Petros mentioned that it told a coherent story through imagery, which was the determining factor of a top film that involved the judges in the story rather than having them focus on the technique.

With awards like lunch with filmmaker and international cinematographer’s guild president Steven Poster won by Mason Shefa of Oakwood High for the experimental/music video, “Memories of an Undefined Image,” a job shadow opportunity with Film L.A. and lunch with Film L.A. staff won by Ella Nepales for her animated piece “Love Will Come Through,” and a free student membership to the international documentary association and a free summer class from Documentary University won by Vivian Keshish, James Hunt, Grace Samson, Mikey DeMarco, and Joseph Barlak, from Providence High for their documentary piece “Autism,” Krekorian considered the night to be an “extraordinary success.”

“I’m already thinking of ways we can expand, maybe opening up to a county wide competition,” said Krekorian.

Armand Nahapetian, 16, sophomore from Glendale High, which submitted seven animation films, thanked Krekorian for putting on the film fest.

“The only thing I didn’t like were the videos were cut down, I wanted to see the full version of ‘Talk to Me,'” said Nahapetian.

Krekorian was happy to give students an opportunity to flourish and sees the festival as an opportunity to preserve the entertainment industry in California.

Petros also believes that film festivals are important for students to experience because they can share their work with an audience that may be able to give them feedback on their work.

He has also been a judge for the yearly Media Arts Festival for 10 years in which community college students throughout the state submit their films and various digital media and get professional software as prizes.

Petros is looking forward to setting up a local twice a year program that would involve community colleges beginning next fall.

Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, NBC Universal, and Warner Bros. Entertainment supported all of the filmmakers of Film Fest 43.