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Young Talent On Display At Guild Hall

Originally Posted: March 17, 2009

Colin M. Graham

Some of the work on display used 20th century mediums like this collection of Photoshopped images by Pierson 11th grader Kyle Fletcher. Photos by Colin M. Graham

East Hampton - This past Saturday was a busy day at Guild Hall of East Hampton, marking both the opening reception for the second part of the 17th Annual Student Arts Festival - the High School Exhibition, as well as the reception and screenings of the winning films from the Sixth Annual Student Film Project.

Part Two of the Student Art Festival featured works by students in grades nine through 12 from high schools in the Amagansett, East Hampton, Montauk, Wainscott, and Sag Harbor school districts, Part One opened on Jan. 31 and was open to Grades Kindergarten through eighth. Student's works covered mediums from mosaic to collage and even digital media, with works created using programs like Photoshop and other digital design applications were all on display.

First place winner in the second to fourth grade category Katie Hoffman, pictured here
with her parents Michael and Jane, who's film, "Taste the Sunshine" explored some
of her favorite things about summer in Montauk.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the day came during the screenings of the winners of the Film Project. This year, the Student Film Project featured three age groups in the competition for the first time, with categories for Elementary grades, second through fourth, with 10-minute films; Middle School grades fifth through eighth with 15-minute films; and finally high school grades nine through12 featuring 20-minute films. Winners in the first category received Regal Entertainment Gift Cards and award placards, first place winner in the fifth through eighth grade category got an iPod Nano, with second and third place winners receiving Regal Entertainment Gift Cards and award placards, and the winner of the ninth through 12th grade category received an iPod Nano, award placard and earned screenings of their films in The Hamptons International Film Festival.

The films were judged by a four person panel made up of local notables in the worlds of film, television and art. The judges were Ann Chaisson, film producer; Cara Cusumano, film festival programmer; Seth Redlus, executive director of LTV; and Marion Wolberg Weiss, art critic. The films were evaluated on four aspects: artistic quality, demonstrated knowledge of the medium, cohesive artistic viewpoint, and appropriateness for diverse public audiences.

The reception began just after 4 p.m. with the first two categories - grades second through eighth - being shown. Before the screenings, Ruth Appelhof, Executive Director of Guild Hall spoke, congratulating the students, parents and especially the teachers, saying, "it's really a combination of all three that helped make these screenings so beautiful." Appelhof then introduced Nancy Brunn, Guild Hall's School Programs Coordinator who introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Isabella Rupp.

Rupp, an Emmy-nominated producer who has working in television for over 20 years, spoke to the students about what it meant to be a storyteller, whether it's through film, art or literature, bringing up examples of how celebrities like JK Rowling and Stephen Spielberg both had inauspicious starts before achieving success and encouraging young artists to stick with and continue to develop their talents. "JK Rowling's first manuscript for 'Harry Potter' was rejected 12 times," Rupp encouraged. "Just because your stories aren't always successful, doesn't mean you shouldn't keep telling them."

Kattie Fragola and Tara Mensir admire some of the student art on display.

Third place in the two through four age group went to Brenden P. Farell for his film "Nature in My Backyard," second place went to Nina Gonzalez and Olivia Brauer for their film "Niagara Falls" and taking the category by storm, was fourth grader Katie Hoffman with her exceptional and mature tribute to fudge, ice cream and fun in Montauk, "Taste the Sunshine."

The fifth through eighth grade category was almost exclusively dominated by the Springs School. Third place winner was Nico Ciro and Travis Santiago's cautionary sock puppet tale entitled "Smoking is No Joke." Second place went to Kattie Fragola's examination of the Yoga classes taught at the Springs School, and the blue ribbon was awarded to Sage Gibbons and his one man Beatles tribute "All the Lonely People."

The high school films, which began showing towards the end of the day at 5 p.m. were understandably more driven by undertones of teenage angst than in the previous groups, with the three winners focusing on traditional themes of adolescence. Coming in third, was Lee Carlson's film "Recovery" a metaphorical look at heartbreak and the healing process. Second place went to Alexa Barrett's "Crimson Awakening," a film which featured some of the most sophisticated cinematography techniques of the festival, including stop motion animation, and time lapse imagery. The winner of the grand prize and an opportunity to have their film screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival was Moggy Vincigverra and Quinne Burt with their dark and macabre movie "No Way Out" dealing with the tragic loss of a friend and the pain felt by those left behind.

In all, the caliber of both the art and the films was pleasantly surprising; not only do children of all ages have stories to tell, but with the instruction and guidance form their parents and teachers, they can be very evocative in telling them.

Barbro Magnusson, Johnnes Golden, Brenda Siemer-Scheider, Dean Golden, and Larry B. Wright enjoy the show.

 • The Student Arts Festival and Film Project will be on display at Guild Hall of East Hampton through April 12, open to the public Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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