George School students received six top awards at the Greenfield Youth and Bridge Film Festivals in April 2021.
Seeger’s Seek of Truth by Eric Guo ’21 and David Xi ’21 earned first place in the Documentary category at the Greenfield Youth Film Festival and the Judge’s Choice award at the Bridge Film Festival. The film profiled Pennswood neighbor Daniel Seeger and his fight at the Supreme Court to earn the right for conscientious objection.
“Wow! What a gift to be able to capture this story with a primary source,” said one of the Bridge Film Festival judges. “I enjoyed the change of scenery during the narration.”
The film is the result of a collaboration in Spring 2020 between film students taught by Scott Seraydarian ’90 and the global politics students taught by Meredith Baldi ’01 in a cross-discipline class Producing Peace: Civic Media Literacy & Production, a course that promotes the idea that media can be a tool for active and positive citizenship. Their film also won third place in the Robert F. Kennedy Speak Truth to Power film contest.
Integritas by Jess Zwall ’22, Maddox Malave ’23, and Hassan Murtaza ’23 earned the Judges Choice award in the Narrative category at the Bridge Film Festival. “The challenges of COVID, social distancing, and hybrid learning made this a unique filming experience,” said Jess. “We are very thankful to the Bridge Film Festival for not only the win but also continuing to host a place for us to share our work.”
“Integrity can be challenging to convey, but this film hits all the right notes. The relationship between cheater and friend seems believable, and the angst that drove the cheater was very plausible,” said one of the Bridge Film Festival judges. “Hearing her admit her cheating to the friend made it less necessary to script the subsequent scene with the teacher, which had to be behind closed doors anyway. Well crafted!”
Them by Aqua Withers Carello ’21 earned second place in the Narrative Film category at the Greenfield. Them was appreciated by the judges as “a positive piece that challenges the gender normativity of the 1950’s cultural aesthetic and had beautiful use of color.”
Who Deserves It by Eric and Jady Huang ’22, earned third place in the Narrative Film category at the Greenfield. “We made this film last summer when we all quarantined together,” said Eric. “We got our inspiration from traditional thriller films and sought a way to enrich its content to school bullying. Looking back, besides all the hard work, the production of this film was a lot of fun and laughter. We were really glad to receive this award as both a recognition for our hard work and the memory for such a special summer.”
Face Your Waste by Eric and Zeikii Oluyede ’21, won first place in the Public Service Announcement category at the Greenfield. It is about overconsumption and food insecurity. “Considering that our audience was mostly George School students and faculty, we decided to pursue a more down-to-earth topic about waste in our dining room,” said Eric. “We planned to make a film that does not directly tell the audience what to do but instead, presents contradicting images to them, and helps them understand by themselves what is right and what is wrong.”
The Silence by Sahib Singh ’21 and Silas Kennedy ’22 was recognized for Story Development at the Greenfield.
The students received much praise for their socially-justice-minded films. “We are so excited by the level of honor our students received for their creative works,” said Film teacher Scott Seraydarian ’90. “Most importantly, we are thrilled that these films reflect our students’ efforts to let their lives speak.”
Greenfield Youth Film Festival is a forum for young filmmakers from the metropolitan Philadelphia region to collaborate, create and showcase their work while expressing their creativity through film. It includes a full-day academic workshop taught by university professors, high school teachers, and professionals in the film industry to provide the students with skills and relevant film-based education in a hands-on environment. The year culminates with an academy-style awards night when students are highlighted and recognized publicly for their expression and effort, and given prizes in the form of cash, trophies (known as “Greenies”), experiences, and other film-related gifts.
In this year of uncertainty, The Bridge Film Festival received twenty-six entries from ten schools and three continents. The entries included seven documentaries, nine narratives, four new media, and six public service announcements. The entries were judged based on five criteria—communication skill, creativity, technical quality, Quaker relevancy, and originality.