Lights, camera, action!

August 17, 2010|By ARIANNA CHURCH / Pulse correspondent
  • Ryan Film Institute students set up lights and cameras for a photo session, from left, Kenny Tyner of Musselman High School, Jared Hamrick of Heritage Academy, Elliott Ryan of Jefferson High School and Kathryn Saunders-Elam of Martinsburg (W.Va.) High School. Jared, Kathryn and Elliott will be exhibiting their photographs for the first time at Ryan Film Institute's Student Short Film Fest on Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Katherine Walsh Ryan,

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Nothing's better than pizza, ice cream and a movie.

That's why Ryan Film Institute, based in Martinsburg, is holding its Student Short Film Fest to offer a new adventure in your cinematic experience.

The fest is 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, at Martinsburg Mall. The festival begins with a red carpet reception, which includes gourmet pizza, a chance to vote for your favorite films and ends with a cherry on top with an ice cream sundae bar.

Katherine Walsh Ryan, president and founder of Ryan Film Institute, said teens have been working all summer as part of the Teen Filmmakers' Workshop. They have been gearing up for the big night, which will feature 18 commercials and short films, and 15 digital photos.

The audience can vote for the People's Choice Award on the entries, Ryan said.

Proceeds of the event will go toward buying equipment for the program. Ryan said funds from last year's fundraising efforts were used to buy a HD camera.


Jared Hamrick, 16, of Heritage Academy, and Liz Riddell, 16, of Saint James School, both attended Ryan Film Institute this summer.

Jared said he attended Shooting Digital Photos this year and last year he attended Creating Commercials. He emphasized the personalized attention and reinforcement he got from Ryan and other professionals working with the program.

"It's really fun, you really learn a lot from it," he said.

The class traveled to film locations around Shepherdstown, W.Va., including an abandoned house and a llama farm. Jared will have his work showcased at the Film Fest along with his classmates in the following categories: landscape, animals, portraits, news and commercials. All are hoping to win the eye of the public who will vote on their favorite entries.

Liz attended Creating TV Commercials and will have three of her pieces shown at the film festival. The class focused on how to market commercials and to target an audience with 60-second spots shot on a green screen.

Ryan said she was extremely proud of all her students. She said many of the students were part of last year's film festival and she was able to see their growth.

The Student Short Film Fest was started because initially her students were frustrated having made wonderful movies but no one to share them with. Ryan created the fest to showcase her student's hard work and raise money for the program.

Scholarship winner for this year's program was Kenny Tyner, a second-year student at Ryan Institute and a Musselman High School student. He is a claymation animator and will have his work shown.

Haley McDonald, who also won scholarships for the past two years, used one of the films she had made in last year's program for an admission video into DePaul University's film program, which she will be attending this fall.

Keenan Hollida, a student at Martinsburg High School, and Elliott Ryan, a student at Jefferson High School, are both fourth-year students and have been elevated to be counselors to the program to help the less-experienced students, Ryan said.

Also included in the film fest will be the results of a 30-hour movie challenge. The students had 30 hours at a mystery location to create, shoot edit and incorporate one of eight different versions of night and day for background music.

Each student's creativity pieced together drastically different concepts with identical criteria proving the individuality of each director.

"On a hot August night there are few things better than pizza, ice cream and a movie," Ryan said.

If you go ...

What: Student Film Fest

When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21

Where: Martinsburg Mall, Martinsburg, W.Va.

Cost: $20 adults and $12 students in advance; $25 adults; $17 students at the door

Contact: For more information, call 304-283-8878 or go to

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