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Young directors make their premiere

Matt TerrellVail CO, Colorado
NWS Student Films PU 5-3-07
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GYPSUM – “Enhancement,” the magnum opus of sophomore Bryan Matthews, begins with a montage of pathetic, sad and lonely faced men.You don’t know why these men look so pathetic, at least at first. You just see that they’re a bunch of sad sacks who need something to, well, “lift” them up.Then some bright purple pills called “Nagorye” flash across the screen, the cure to what ails them, and when you see these once-depressed men grinning like crazed Cheshire cats and clicking their heels in the air like giddy leprechauns, you finally understand what these men were so down about.The commercial, produced in film class at Eagle Valley High School, is a spoof on those infamous Viagra commercials that featured a plastic-looking, straight-out-of-“Leave it to Beaver” husband grinning for some mysterious reason. It was one of six films from Eagle Valley High School accepted into the Rocky Mountain Student Filmfest, presented by Basalt High School and Glenwood Springs High School.”You don’t need a lot of inappropriate language or images to sell a product,” Matthews said. “You can do it from a conservative point of view.”

Ron Beard, who teaches film and broadcasting at the high school, says above everything else, he’s trying to teach storytelling.”If you can tell a story with video images, you can tell a story in English class, on your CSAP essays,” Beard said. “You have to organize; you have to ask how you’ll transition from one part to another; you need to know your tone – if it will be dark, happy, tongue in cheek.”It’s a concept Beard sees everywhere in life: Whoever has the best story wins. Eventually, he wants them telling better stories and writing more in-depth scripts as opposed to the dramatic music videos produced by much of the class.Most students in the class won’t be going to film school, but they’re learning computer and organizational skills that could help them in whatever they do, Beard said.”If they want to make an anniversary video for their parents, they’ll know how to do it,” Beard said.

One of the films accepted into the festival was a public service announcement directed by freshman Molly Walker.In it, you see a girl walking up to a sink in a bathroom with a sharp object in her hand, obviously with the intention of cutting herself. And as she rolls up her sleeve, you see the words, “Depression, there’s help,” etched into her arm.In “Bunny Magic,” directed by sophomore Joslyn Funez, a white, somewhat creepy stuffed bunny meets the narrator at every corner, on the TV, on the porch, in the fridge, on the toilet, and it’s apparently a disturbing phenomenon, as evidenced by the foreboding music, looming shadows, and the incantation of “The bunny follows me everywhere. … “Junior Brian Hostetter directed “Waking Moment of the Sleepless Mind,” which was inspired by some bouts with insomnia. The movie, set to the song “Exit Music (For a Film),” by Radiohead, begins with a close shot of a blank, indifferent face as its owner lays in bed and then gets up, gets dressed and embarks on a meaningless day filled with a lot of nothing. By the end, you’re never really sure if he’s just imagining it all, playing it back in his mind or maybe dreaming altogether.”I kind of left it open to interpretation,” Hostetter said.Other movies playing at the festival include “Boston,” a music video directed by Walker, and “Face Down,” a music video directed by freshmen Brigid O’Neill and Henry Brandes.=================================================What: Rocky Mountain Student Film FestWhen: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. There’s a different program each night.Where: Glenwood Springs High School AuditoriumHow much: Tickets are $5 at the doorThe categories are: Original animation, artistic/experimental, action, comedy, documentary and drama.=================================================Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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