The student film, Agents of Change, capped off a successful student film awards season with second place in the documentary category at the WHYY 2018 Youth Media Award film festival on November 10, 2018. The film, by John Hudson Fort ’19, Shumpei Chosa ’19, and Maddie Keith ’19, also took top honors in the documentary category at the Greenfield Film Festival earlier this year.
“This journey, especially the WHYY film festival, has been amazing,” said Maddie, the film’s producer. “We’ve been exposed to many different types of films and I appreciate having the opportunity to share our film’s message and my passion for filmmaking with people I would have otherwise never met.”
This year, more than three hundred student-created films were entered into the WHYY contest. Eighteen made it through to the final round. In addition to receiving recognition in their individual categories, they were chosen by the judges as the standout films for their commitment to storytelling, technical proficiency, and intangible greatness.
The film documents the George School production of The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, written by Robert E. Lee and Jerome Lawrence in 1969. It looks at a time in the life of a young, idealistic Henry David Thoreau when he refused to pay his taxes as an act of civil disobedience to protest the Mexican war.
Student actors, directors, and stage crew members were interviewed about the staging of the play and the themes of standing up for ideals and letting their voices be heard.
“It has been wonderful to support Maddie, John, and Shumpei throughout this process,” said Scott Seraydarian ’90, George School film teacher. “Their commitment was really impressive, including shooting over two terms and several long nights in the editing room. I think their participation in the film festivals also helped them learn a lot about film production and distribution. What really stands out to me most is their film’s message.”