EMAC Film Festival caps off successful school year

By Lance McCaskey and Mark Slette
Staff Writer and KCBY Staff Member

A theme, a prop and pure creativity. These were the ideas that fueled the first annual Emerging Media and Communications (EMAC) Academy Short Film Festival.

Students and teachers alike converged on Coppell High School’s room C201 on May 2 as production began. Students were given their prop (a pencil) and prompt (“The End of the Line”), along with group assignments, a week prior to prepare for the festival. They were required to make a short film, a photo gallery, a movie trailer and tweet every half hour.

One of the most talked about films of the day, featuring sophomore Trevor Stiff, sophomore Mabry Culp, sophomore K-T Fink, freshman Chris Goldman, freshman Analiese Gerald and freshman Emily Friis-Hanson, showed students creativity and use of learned skills at their best.

A combination of special affects and great creativity and storytelling wowed the audience and guest advisors.

“We basically had a guy doing an art project, and his pencil breaks,” Stiff said. “His friend gives him a new pencil, but it turns out its magic. Any time he draws something, he can crush it up, and it becomes [the same object]. In the end, he draws a pencil, and gives the magic one back to his friend. He told his friend, ‘Don’t draw a straight line, and don’t look at the end of the line.”

The students were assisted and encouraged by KCBY staff members and advisers.

Sophomores Killian Bresnahan and Kristin Schulz elected to focus on a controversial issue.

“We’re showing the viewer how [drugs and alcohol] can affect a student’s life, and to tie in the prompt, how abuse can lead to end of the line for a human life,” Schulz said.

Participants decided amongst themselves how to accomplish their tasks at hand, and how to divide the work among themselves, encouraging them to learn how to work together and meet their deadlines.

“I’ve been the planner, the time manager, and the supplier of props,” sophomore Kristin Anderson said. “It’s a crazy day.”

KCBY members said they were looking for creativity and originality.

“We’re looking for many things,” junior KCBY member Eric Park said.

Eric Park and Joe Han both worked with students throughout the day.

“We are most interested in storytelling, cinematography, editing, story flow, taking risks, and really experimenting with all the tools they’ve been given,” junior KCBY member Joe Han said.

The judges also acted as teachers or advisors to the students, giving them help and advice along the way whenever they needed it.

“I’m basically overseeing the EMAC students,” senior KCBY member Josh Brunelli said. “I go around, and anytime I see a struggling student, or someone who could use an expert opinion, I offer them my assistance and my advice. As a judge, I want to see production quality, and resolution to the prompt. If I can help them get there, that’s a good thing.”

The Film Festival also offers students a way to get out of the classroom, and use their skills learned through the academy in a fun and creative way.

“This really serves as an opportunity for students to use creative and production skills in a fun way,” KCBY adviser Irma Kennedy said. “Many students haven’t had this opportunity, and this is giving them a chance to have fun and work together. We have coordinated this event, and it’s really meant to honor the hard work these students have done all year.”

The day ended with an award ceremony, giving EMAC students recognition for all the hard work they have done throughout this year.