Luke Strovel

Staff Reporter

16 May, 2023

     “The main goal was to submit it to the film festival. That was one of the first things we talked about,” said film club President Dustin Flaker, the leader of one of many groups that submitted films into the Howard County Film Festival this year. 

     These groups are the Film Club, Let’s Make a TV Show Club, and Film Production Class, which makes this the most submissions ever from Atholton.

     The 19th annual Howard County Film Festival was held on May 4th. Atholton performed extremely well, placing second and third for best film submissions. Third place was from the Let’s Make a TV Show Club, and second place was from the Film Club. This was a big accomplishment for both groups, especially for Film Club who just started this year.

     “If someone can walk away from this club feeling at least a little more creative than when they joined, I’m happy,” said Dustin Flaker. Flaker began Film Club this year as a junior, after becoming  interested in producing movies over quarantine. The club has been student run since its creation, and plans to stay that way. His goal has always been to submit a film into the festival. Just recently, he submitted Film Club’s production, Detective Work. Detective Work is a comedic story about two very different detectives working together. It perfectly meets the 10 minute maximum requirement for the festival.

     The Film Club production process was more fragmented. Instead of going scene by scene in order, Flaker’s route was to jump around and film different scenes when available because of the time crunch. A club only has so much access to cameras, rooms, and other equipment, so when given an opportunity to film somewhere capitalized on it. As expected there were setbacks. “It was actually a lot harder than I thought to film,“ said Flaker. “It’s really hard to tell how something looks until it’s uploaded onto the computer and edited and what not.“ Regardless of the setbacks, the Film Club’s film is contending as a finalist.

     Another group that created a film is the Let’s Make a TV Show Club, led by Gavin Lampasone. “I heard about the festival from Mrs. Pilcher and I thought it was a perfect project for us,” said Lampasone. The club’s original goal was never to submit a film to the festival, but rather create an official Atholton broadcast.

     The Let’s Make a TV Show Club’s film is called Pendulum. “It’s a short film about a girl who’s stuck in a kind of loop. Everyday things in her world change and she discovers strange mistakes,” Lampasone said. 

     The Club’s process of filming was to get together and brainstorm. “We focused on a theme and kind of built the script around that,” said Lampasone. The club structured filming as it went. They had a few setbacks and long shoots and took advantage of where they were able to shoot and when. “The longest shoot we had ran from 1 to almost 9 o’clock at night,” Lampasone added. Through their hard work, they became finalists for the festival as well.

     Ms. Gillis’ Film Production class created a film as well. Gillis said the goal of this class is “for students to be able to create, produce, respond, and make connections through their video productions.” Gillis added that she will never require her students to submit a film into the festival, but will require her students to make a film. The class is 90% student run, which allows students to combine creativity and make connections during the film production process.

     Gillis’ film production class has already made multiple films this year. The film they submitted to the film festival is based around the Atholton High School’s mascot being stolen and was structured more or less off of reality TV shows. Since the class is mostly student run, it allows the students of this class to control films and projects the way they want. This is similar to the other two clubs which have always been student run.

     These groups have no intent on changing next year’s plan. Flaker plans on running Film Club similarly to this year going onto the next. “I would like to make another film for next year’s festival no matter what,” he said. “I think I’ve learned a lot and I think as a club we can make an even better film.” Like Flaker, Lampasone and his club plan to improve off of this year’s film and make an even better one next year. “There’s a lot I think we can learn from this film and put into the next one. I also want to continue the broadcasts next year and produce more content,” he concluded. Since it follows a set curriculum, film production class will also be structured similarly next year. 

     “For me, film is just another avenue for personal expression and creativity,” Flaker concluded. The rise in film at Atholton is likely to continue in the future. And that’s a wrap.

Posted by Luke Strovel

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