Teens shine at film fest

August 31, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The spotlight was shining on young filmmakers Saturday night at the third annual Student Short Film Fest.

The Ryan Film Institute hosted the event at Stonebridge Golf Club Banquet Hall in Martinsburg.

About a dozen students from the extended Eastern Panhandle participated in the Teen Filmmakers Workshops at Mountain State University in Martinsburg, said Katherine Walsh Ryan, founder and president of the film institute.

A screening of 16 student projects included narrative short films, documentaries and commercials that were shot in the studio and on location in the area this summer.

Most of the students are from Berkeley and Jefferson counties, Ryan said, and several students have participated in the workshops for three years.


Martinsburg High School sophomore Keenan Hollida, 16, took part in the workshops for the last three years and plans to participate in the future. 

"Film wise, I like working with other people and I enjoy learning from other people," Keenan said.

He is enrolled in Marianne Tomasic's broadcast journalism class and wants to take additional classes to work on different projects, he said.

Keenan said his favorite part of his film, "Martinsburg High School -- A New Era," was interviewing the high school principal, Regina Phillips, and other teachers to hear them talk about the kinds of things they were doing to make positive changes at the high school.

"They were very excited to have the opportunity to speak out about positive change," Keenan said.

About 40 people attended Saturday's gala, Ryan said.

She said the film institute offers many unique opportunities.

"I get contacted by all different groups who need assistance," Ryan said.

This year, students traveled to Virginia to work on a documentary for another filmmaker, one for the Discovery Channel and another for Habitat for Humanity.

"These are valuable experiences," she said.

Ryan said filmmaking is very challenging and takes a lot of preproduction planning, and the students have class instruction before picking up a camera.

"This program is very unique in that it is the first in West Virginia and it teaches the students the skills they need for a future job," Ryan said.

Ryan said students told her they have become better students at school because they apply what they have learned at the workshops, including planning, researching, editing and finalizing a project before it is submitted.

Tomasic, an English and broadcast journalism teacher at Martinsburg High School, attended the film fest.

She said she noticed the students who have participated in the Teen Filmmakers Workshops before, and that "these kids have really grown in their work over the past couple of years."

"This was the kids' night to show off their work to family and friends," Tomasic said.

Student Short Film Fest 2009 winners:


  • Best Actress: Leading (two-way tie), Haley McDonald, "Summertime" film

    and Loressah Clemons, "Doggles" commercial

  • Best Actress: Supporting, Danielle Duffy, "Fantaisie Romantique" film

  • Best Actor: Leading, Elliott Ryan, "Got 2B Glued Spray" commercial

  • Best Actor: Supporting, Jared Hamrick, "Got 2B Glued Spray" commercial



  • Best Commercial: "Got 2B Glued Spray"

  • Best Director: Haley McDonald, "Got 2B Glued Spray"

  • Best Photography: Haley McDonald, "Got 2B Glued Spray"

  • Best Editor (three-way tie): Keenan Hollida, "Glam Gloves;" Haley McDonald, "Got 2B Glued Spray"; and Elliott Ryan, "Gourmet Napa Style"

  • Best Technical (two-way tie): Logan McMaster, "Glam Gloves" and Haley McDonald, "Gourmet Napa Style"


    Film Challenge: "Summertime"

  • Best Film: "Summertime-Willie Nelson" version

  • Best Director: Keenan Hollida

  • Best Photography: Chris Godwin

  • Best Editor: Chris Godwin


    Short films and documentaries

  • Best Short Film (tie): "Martinsburg High School -- A New Era" and "Fantaisie Romantique"

  • Best Director (tie): Keenan Hollida, "Martinsburg High School -- A New Era" and Haley McDonald, "Fantaisie Romantique"

  • Best Photography: Keenan Hollida, "Fantaisie Romantique"

  • Best Editor: Haley McDonald, "Fantaisie Romantique"

  • Best Technical: Logan McMasters, "Fantaisie Romantique"

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