Area schools compete in pilot UIL film contest

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Three Denton County high schools will soon learn if their films are selected as finalists for this year’s UIL filmmakers competition.

Argyle, Little Elm and Sanger high schools all produced films that were among the 143 entries announced as semifinalists last week for the 2014 Focus: University Interscholastic League Young Filmmakers Festival. The competition is a UIL pilot program featuring original films in the categories of narrative, documentary and animation produced by high school filmmakers.

According to a UIL official, contest finalists will be announced today.

The top six films in each category will be screened April 16 at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, according to Luis Munoz, UIL theater director. It was announced last summer that UIL would be piloting the film competition, Munoz said.

The idea came to him in 2011 while viewing the science-fiction film Super 8. He said the film reminded him of the times when he, his brother and friends played with old cameras and made him think of how accessible film making is to today’s youth.

Munoz said he began watching films created by youth online and there were “wonderful things” being created and stories told with film and sometimes even iPhones.

“Once we saw that it was happening, it was time to give it some recognition,” Munoz said.

Nearly 500 films were submitted for this year’s festival, he said.

In Division 1, which includes films from Class 1A, 2A and 3A schools, Argyle had two documentary films qualify as semifinalists. The films are titled The Art of an Apprentice and A Game for the Ages.

“We are very excited to be a part of this event,” said Jeff Butts, Argyle High principal. “This event has allowed more students to be involved in our programs. Some of these students ... they’re not athletes ... and this has really tapped into what their talent is and its been an exciting time for us.”

A documentary film and an animated film from Sanger High School are also among the semifinalists in Division 1. The animated film is GOAL!, directed by senior Tyler Sanders and edited by junior Hunter Bennett with junior Collins Jones as camera operator. The documentary is Electronic Generation, which was produced and edited by senior Garrett Garner, with senior Tony Mason as camera/audio operator. Both films are online at http://bit.ly/1iEEY31.

“This is the first year to have an audio/video production department at our school,” said Juliana Musgrave, the school’s audio/video production teacher. “We’ve never had a program like this before, and we’re just really excited to be included in the semifinalists.”

In Division 2, which includes entries from Class 4A and 5A, Little Elm High’s narrative film The Solace is a semifinalist. It was produced by David Hinsch, a junior, and written and narrated by Tess Foster, a senior, and can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1pAoCcH.

“I think it’s pretty special because I think we’re a lot smaller than the other districts around with fewer resources. It’s a pretty big accomplishment to do so well against the other bigger districts and bigger schools,” said Eric Fink, A/V production teacher at Little Elm High. “I’m proud of them and I’m hoping that it gives our program some exposure.

“I’m hoping that they go to the next level but I think they’ve got a pretty good shot.”

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.


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