Student film festival focuses on bullying

11:41 PM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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Kevin Keck hosts Powell High School's film festival

It was only a few months ago when Kevin Keck, Hampton Newton and Will Palmer first got a film club at school. Between then and now, the three Powell High School juniors have kept themselves busy.

Monday night, the group hosted their first film festival in the Powell auditorium.

"Tonight is the night that me and the guys prove ourselves," Keck said before the show. Of the three, he is the most interested in a film career and wants to become a director.

"I've been making short films with a VHS camera ever since elementary school."

The film festival drew competitors from four different high schools: two teams from Powell, and one each from West High School, L&N STEM Academy, and Grace Christian Academy. Each team was given a genre, a prop, and a line that had to be included in their project, and every film had to use the theme of "bullying."

"We've had trouble with it in our school recently, a couple of pretty troublesome instances," Keck said about choosing the bullying theme. "We just kind of felt that, that was something that we would take the power of film and really bring it to the forefront."

Keck's friend, Hamtpon Newton, agreed.

"We recognize the issues that are in our community, we handle them, and we talk about them. We don't just let them build up inside," Newton said.

He added, "We're trying to get the word out about bullying, and we want students who have never participated in festivals like this to become interested in them."

Hampton described the competition as a "shootout," where each team had only seven days to complete the project. The young men recruited a panel of judges, who are members of the film and art industry.

Filmmaker Keith McDaniel said he first met Keck at last year's Secret City Film Festival. When Keck invited him to the Powell competition to both speak and judge films, he was excited to help.

"I said, what a great idea, [to] have these high school students create these stories, these films about bullying," he said. "And they did a fantastic job."

Judges handed out a number of awards including best writer, best director, and best actor. West High School's team, "Analytical Thinker" took home the award for "Best Film."

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