Making the cut

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A group of Argyle High School students has made it to the state finals in the University Interscholastic League filmmakers competition. Their 7-minute film, “Destiny: A Game for the Ages,” follows the Argyle Eagles’ winning season.
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Argyle, Sanger student films in state finals in UIL’s new competition

While Argyle football players worked their way through the fall season to the state championship, a team of young filmmakers was right by their side at practices, taking road trips across the state and sometimes working in freezing weather.

Now the filmmakers are facing a championship of their own, of sorts.

Films from Argyle and Sanger high schools are among 37 films that are state finalists for this year’s University Interscholastic League filmmakers competition, a pilot program that includes original narrative, documentary and animation films produced by high school filmmakers. The finalists, including the two local films, will be screened this week at UIL’s Young Filmmakers Festival at Paramount Theatre in Austin.

Advancing to state from Argyle is the documentary “Destiny: A Game for the Ages,” a 7-minute film that captures the Argyle Eagles’ journey to the Class 3A Division II state football championship and the challenges they faced along the way.

Matt Garnett, a junior, was the film’s director, editor, photographer, videographer and visionary, said Stacy Short, adviser for the film. It can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/1qp0NqD.

Sanger High’s animated film “GOAL!” is also a state finalist. The short, just over a minute and a half long, shows the formation of a clay creature named Murphy and a bout of soccer. “GOAL!” was directed by senior Tyler Sanders and edited by junior Hunter Bennett with junior Collins Jones as camera operator. It can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/1iEEY31.

Argyle’s journey

The journey to the UIL finals was a long one for the Argyle filmmakers, just as it was for the football team they documented.

The idea for the film was conceived last spring, Garnett said. The group knew the football team was a talented bunch and that it had a good shot at winning the state football title.

“We really didn’t know what the story was going to be until after the season,” Garnett said. “We just kind of went with it and how the story would unfold.

“It’s nice that we won. It made it a lot easier to tell a good story.”

Beginning in August, Garnett began shooting two-a-day practices. The students then followed the team’s journey over 16 games.

Short said she hopes viewers see the hard work the students put into the project as well as the good story it tells.

She said 22,817 photographs were taken during the course of the football season, excluding photos of pep rallies and parades, and several pieces of footage were shot that didn’t make the final cut. The students spent several hundred hours in the production of the film, she said.

“They worked their butts off, probably more so than any organization I’ve seen,” she said.

The students used digital cameras, a rented video camera and three to four clips of footage from WFAA-TV, which were credited to the station’s videographer.

Other students who participated in the project in various capacities included Darby Richhart, Tanner Davenport, Maddie Moseley, Jeff Short, Catherine Read, Aubrey Kass, Annabel Thorpe, Josh Block, Maggie DiVecchia, Allie Hommel, Mark Pfohl and Chase Kammerer.

Moseley said the team’s selection as a state finalist made the project worth the effort.

“It’s pretty nice knowing that all that hard work is going toward something meaningful,” she said.

Garrett said he is glad to see UIL offer a film competition for students.

“It’s nice to have those fields available to us now for contest,” he said. “I think the UIL still has a long way to go before they catch up with the 21st century.”

Sanger sets high goals

The students who made “GOAL!” hope it brings a smile to the people who see it.

The film was inspired by a desire to do something with “claymation,” or clay stop-motion animation, Bennett said. It took the students about three to four weeks to produce, and it was a collaborative effort of all three students.

Using a digital camera on a tripod, the students shot their animated film on a cabinet in the prop room of the school’s audio/video production teacher, Juliana Musgrave. Murphy, the film’s star, was sculpted by Sanders as shooting took place.

Bennett, Sanders and Jones said the film was something they thought would be fun to do for class but never thought it would be selected as a state finalist for the UIL film competition.

“We never expected it to go all the way,” Sanders said. “We hoped it would, but we never expected it.”

Jones agreed. “I didn’t expect it to go anywhere,” he said. “I thought it would just be on YouTube. I was surprised.”

Bennett said the work paid off.

“It was effort well-rewarded,” he said.

Musgrave said the film was largely something her students did for fun. But after reviewing the finished piece, she said she was impressed and encouraged them to enter the UIL contest.

“Lo and behold, it’s a finalist,” she said. “I’m super proud of them.”

For a complete list of high school films that advanced to state, visit http://bit.ly/1f1KHPD.

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


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