Fifth Annual Greg Harris Film Festival celebrates talent

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On May 2, New Trier launched its Fifth Annual Greg Harris Film Festival held at the Wilmette Theater, where students got a chance to showcase their very own films and receive awards in a variety of categories.
Greg Harris came to New Trier in 1995 to teach English and film study. He improved the Writing Center and was a dear friend to New Trier’s students and staff.
Every year in his honor, New Trier hosts the annual Greg Harris Film Festival, allowing students to use their creativity and knowledge of filmaking to create a short film and compete with their classmates in the Film Race.
This is where the creativity truly kicks in. According to the NT Greg Harris Film Festival site, the Film Race requirements were as follows: to include a line of dialogue, “Because the heart wants what the heart wants,” the action of striking a match, and the object of a fish.
This year junior Debbie Sung’s The Oak Tree, won the Best Film-Race award. It is about one girl’s experience growing up with a close childhood friend diagnosed with cancer who eventually dies.
Sung decided to participate in the Film Race because, “I thought it would be fun to be given required elements to put in our film, three days before it was due.”
Other nominees for the Best Film-Race award were Hacker Girlz, by senior Dylan Brennan and Kill Tanner by freshman Regina Madanguit, who won the Best WTF Moment and Rookie of the Fest award.
“I thought the whole concept of the film race was so exciting and unlike anything I heard of so I knew I definitely wanted in on it this year,” said Madanguit.
Philip Choi participated in the Greg Harris Film Festival for the past three years. This year his film, The Bucket List, won the Best Dialogue award.
The Bucket List is a short comedy about two guys who created two bucket lists due to their boredom.
“One of them has a normal bucket list, for example, traveling, hobbies they want to pursue, the other list… brings interesting and hilarious results,” said Choi.
Choi explained how anyone can become a film director as long as they have a camera. But what separates a film director from your average video taper, is the story that he is trying to convey and the passion involved in that process, aside from the filming and endless editing.
Best comedy went to juniors Julia Davis and her partner Victoria Sundell, for their short film, Tuesday. Tuesday was a basically a romantic comedy about a guy who forgot his girlfriend’s birthday and how he made up for it.
“I participated last year and I really liked it so I decided to do it again this year, and I had a lot of friends participating in it as well,” said Davis, also a Film Club member at New Trier.
Best cinematography went to Henry Bacon and Ben Liguori’s film FWD :. Just as the title suggests, the film was about chain emails and how people are murdered for not forwarding the messages.
“I don’t really know where my inspiration came from, I thought of the idea during spring break. Shortly after, Ben and I wrote the script,” said Bacon.
Another film was Jordan Zamansky’s, Rhythm Pills, an experimental film about a man who comes down with a serious case of “the rhythm”, and is faced with the challenge of his every action becoming part of a song. Unfortunately, he had to make the journey upstairs to take the medicine and cure himself.
“Every sound in the movie you can actually see occurring on screen,” said Zamansky.
Edited together, all the sounds created a rhythmic pattern, creating a very cool and unique effect.
Although Zamansky didn’t win any awards, he was nominated for Best Experimental film. He also got first place honors at the Wilmette Art Guild.
“I had a lot of very positive feedback in class and on Facebook, and decided to enter it in the festival,” said Zamansky.

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