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Student Films Take Top Honors

Ota Benga, by Quan Do ’18, won best new media at the Bridge Film Festival 2018.

Two George School student films took top honors at the Bridge Film Festival 2018. Ota Benga, by Quan Do ’18 took best new media. Bully, by Lea Nguyen ’19 and Carol Lu ’21, was awarded best public service announcement.

“Once again I find myself proudly announcing the awards won by George School filmmakers, this time at the Bridge Film Festival this afternoon,” said film teacher Scott Seraydarian ’90. “Both films are well worth watching.”

Ota Benga tells the story of a man who was brought to America to be a slave on display. “This was a sophisticated film on a painful topic. I thought the cinematography was effective, and I especially liked the close-ups, profiles, and lighting of the protagonist’s face. The transitions between the scenes, times, and settings were smooth. The reading was powerful and the drums in the soundtrack worked well to convey the tension. It certainly depicted Quaker values in action as it portrayed the ugliness of entrapping human beings and treating them as if they have no value, worse than some people treat animals,” wrote one of the festival judges.

The public service announcement Bully highlights the problem of unwanted, repeated aggressive behaviors. “Bullying is certainly a relevant topic in our current political climate, with all kinds of people engaging in it from government officials to peers in school to social media trolls. This film is skillfully done with excellent technical quality. It conveys the painful impact of bullying in a very short time—critical for a PSA. Professional quality. Effectively done. It reflects Quaker values in that it sends a strong message about the pain and devastation caused by bullying and why it needs to stop,” wrote one of the festival judges.

Twenty-three films from eleven schools were submitted to the Bridge Film Festival this year. Highlights of 2018 are available on YouTube.

The Bridge Film Festival is an international festival of student-made films from Friends Schools and Meetings worldwide that depict Quaker values in action. The festival provides a forum for dialog, learning, and exchange of ideas of commonality and diversity. It is supported by Brooklyn Friends School and the Friends Council on Education.

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