There was a buzz in the air on Sunday afternoon as student filmmakers entered The Ambler Theater and walked the red carpet at the screening and awards ceremony for the 2018 Film Now Festival, an international high school film festival hosted by Germantown Academy that gives students from all over the world the opportunity to showcase their work and have it juried by film professionals, including Tony Pitone '87 (Narrative Juror), Cameron Yates (Documentary Juror), Natalie Difford (Experimental Juror), and Josh Apter '89 (Jury Prize).
There was plenty of anticipation leading up to Sunday's event. Overall, 81 short films from 24 schools, 10 states, and seven countries were deemed "in consideration."
"The quality of films in consideration this year was incredibly impressive," said Germantown Academy Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications Adam McGrath, who has led the festival the past three years. "The depth of storytelling, emotional honesty, and technical achievement demonstrated in our finalists' work proves what young filmmakers can do. To have the opportunity to be assessed by industry professionals, network with their peers, and see their film up on the big screen along with an audience is something that will stay with them as they pursue a career in the arts. It's very rewarding to work on a festival that provides that kind of platform."
In the end, three films from each of the categories (Narrative, Experimental, Documentary) were selected as finalists and shown during Sunday's screening. Finalists were also awarded cash prizes for first, second, and third place ($300, $200, $100).
2018 Film Now Festival Finalists
|1st Place||Jasmine Stung||Partho Gupte||Oberoi International School||Mumbai, India|
|2nd Place||The Man With A Plan||Gabe Schmidt||Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|3rd Place||Zombie Gras||Cameron Wheeless||Landry Walker High School||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Honorable Mention||HYACINTH||Ava Young||Etobicoke School of the Arts||Toronto, Canada|
|Honorable Mention||The Remote||Nate Wiggins||Upper Dublin High School||Fort Washington|
|Honorable Mention||Don't Open the Door||Vasile Berde Luca Stefan||Ion Luca Caragiale National College||Bucharest, Romania|
|1st Place||It Won't Hurt||Thomas Rubino||Westlake High School||Thornwood, New York|
|2nd Place||Ota Benga||Quan Do||George School||Newtown, Pennsylvania|
|3rd Place||The Track We're On||Isabelle Berthelot||Episcopal School of Acadiana||Broussard, Louisiana|
|Honorable Mention||L'Alchimiste||Chris Lowry||Henry Hudson Regional High School||Highlands, New Jersey|
|Honorable Mention||The Chew Up Watch||Alireza Khaledi||Shahid Qoddusi High School||Qom, Iran|
|1st Place||You Look Nothing Like Your Mother||Ava Young||Etobicoke School of the Arts||Toronto, Canada|
|2nd Place||Changyou's Journey||Perry Chen||Canyon Crest Academy||San Diego, California|
|3rd Place||Dandelion||Ana Gutierrez||Perth Amboy High School||Perth Amboy, New Jersey|
Ava Young of Toronto, who won the Documentary Category for her brilliant film, You Look Nothing Like Your Mother, also received the overall Jury Prize, a Padcaster Verse Kit. The Jury Prize was selected by Apter, founder of The Padcaster and The Padcaster Verse, which transform tablets and smart phones into mobile media powerhouses.
Five area films that were given Honorable Mention awards were also screened as part of the Tri-State Showcase.
The 2018 Film Now Festival Tri-State Showcase Honorable Mentions:
|The Remote||Nate Wiggins||Upper Dublin High School||Fort Washington, Pennsylvania|
|L'Alchimiste||Chris Lowry||Henry Hudson Regional High School||Highlands, New Jersey|
|Farewell||David Nadwodny '18||Germantown Academy||Fort Washington, Pennsylvania|
|What is DACA?||Giselle Guzman||Esperanza Academy Charter School||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Puzzle Piece||Allison Riches||Hatboro-Horsham High School||Horsham, Pennsylvania|
Local filmmakers that participated included students from Abington High School, Episcopal Academy, Esperanza Academy Charter High School, George School, Germantown Academy, Hatboro-Horsham High School, Pope John Paul II, Springfield Township High School, Upper Dublin High School, William Penn Charter School, and Wissahickon High School.
The Film Now Festival was launched by GA and was born out of a passion for guiding young people to the art of filmmaking. Taking inspiration from the Digital Media program at GA, alumnus Geoffrey Jackson '87 and his family pledged a generous gift to create a film festival that would offer high school students from all over the globe the chance to submit original short films to be judged by a panel of industry experts.