IB Film Festival receives rave reviews


The cast and producers of Remember Me gather on stage after winning Jury Prize.

The annual IB Film Festival was held on June 8 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium. The program featured 19 original videos that were created and directed by IB Film I and II students. Films were judged by a panel of five AHS community members. The festival’s emcee was senior Max Talley, with IB Film teacher Alan Weintraut announcing the award winners.

The night turned out to be a success for the filmmakers and the actors and extras in the films. For some, the anticipation for the festival had been growing for a while.

“I liked the trailer for Remember Me because I saw my friends in it and they are really good actors and I know the people who made it worked hard,” sophomore Melissa Stamp said.

All of the student directors, actors and editors put a lot of time and effort into their films, facing challenges that prolonged the production process.

“It took a very long time,” student director junior Nardos Assefa said. “We had to plan, we had to get the props and the clothing because everything has to match.”

Assefa cites scheduling conflicts with the actors in her film, Mr. Perfect, as the toughest challenge for her and her co-director junior Brekhnaa Gull.

Alex Lash, one of the main actors in Assefa’s film, was also a student director for other films, which complicated scheduled rehearsals. Lash wasn’t alone as a combination actor and student director; junior Daniel Critchfield also shared the double role.

“Being an actor is more fun, less stressful,” Critchfield said. “As a director you have to put yourself into the work and make sure everyone’s up to par with what you want. Acting is more fun.”

“At times it gets stressful of course, being a cinematographer and director,” Critchfield added. “But it was a good time.”

Other films had a lot of cinematography. The Other Part of Me, a film produced by seniors Jerusalem Mekonnen, James Bui and Quan Ngo featured moving animation of a sock that embarked on the long journey throughout a house to find its other part. It won Best Screenplay due to a lot of effort in a short amount of time.

Mekonnen spread her work out over the course of two days, and says she took over 1,000 pictures in order to make her film.

“I was looking for the right characters and [figuring out] how to create emotion in the film; it was really hard,” Mekonnen said.

Proper character choice for the films was a challenging task, but in the end, made or broke the films.

“My favorite film was Remember Me,” sophomore Kessarin Horvath said. “It was a good story and I thought they executed it well.”

Remember Me won a grand total of four prizes: Best Editing, Audience Choice, Best Actor to freshman Stephen Aderton, and the most coveted award, Jury Prize. Senior Marissa Shartel and juniors Gwen Levey and Eric Stavenjord were the film producers.

Jury Prize runner-up went to juniors Lash and Shaun Weber for their film A Little Game, and Audience Choice Runner-up went to With One Look by seniors Rebecca Malzahn and Taylor Swann.

The films featured a diverse array of genres ranging from thriller to romance, but also represented the student body of AHS. With one film entirely in Spanish, and another using subtitles for certain parts in Vietnamese, the diversity of AHS was not ignored.

“This festival really reflected Annandale High School,” Weintraut said.

The IB Film Festival turned out to be a success for all; some got awards and others got recognition, but all the film students shared the same sentiment about the night.

“Actually seeing our final work, and seeing it up on the big screen and seeing everyone’s reactions is really a great feeling,” Critchfield said.

Visit The A-Blast on Facebook to see the full list of  award recipients.