EASTON — On March 26, the Easton High School Interactive Media Production Career and Technical Education pathway hosted its 6th annual “Film-in” challenge. Sixteen students on four different teams competed to storyboard, film and edit a one- to four-minute narrative sequence, all within the span of 24 hours.

The theme of each team’s film, as well as a prop, an event, line and sound effect that had to be incorporated were not revealed to students until the start of the event. This year, all teams had to incorporate a book, strange animal sounds, a hallucination, and the line “Don’t just stand there, you lolly-gagging unfortunates!” into their film.

The resulting films reflected diverse narratives, inspired by the self-selected genres of mystery, comedy, musical and thriller. Students were held to high standards of social distancing while recording and editing their footage, forcing them to get creative with shots and editing to create the illusion of multiple actors in close proximity. The results were impressively seamless.

Nick Richards, MCTV station manager, graciously volunteered his time to host a matinee showcase of the completed films (and blooper reels) at the Avalon Theatre on March 28. In addition, he live-streamed the event on Youtube so that family and friends of the teams could cheer them on remotely.

Liza Ledford, who has an extensive career in the film industry, and Amy Steward, owner of Steward Writing and Communications, served as the event’s judges along with several other Easton High School Interactive Media Production Career and Technology pathway completers. Present at the showcase to support teams were design-majors Rayn Colbourne (class of 2020) and Haley McMaster (class of 2021) and videographer Thomas Lee (class of 2018).

In addition to editing a feature film, teams designed posters for their film that were inspired by a movie poster of the same film genre, created a bloopers reel and wrote their own press release — the winning team’s press release is as follows:

“’The Last Splash’ presented by Team CMYK is a thrilling trip into the mindset of a woman gone mad after a sudden accident involving her friend. These lolly-gagging unfortunates will have you on the edge of your seat wondering what’s actually real and what’s just a hallucination.”

The teams rose to the challenge and produced diverse and engaging narratives, the judges said. Winning team “CMYK” created a cinematic thriller with a surreal and an intense sound track; team “Hot Outta the Frame” created a musical with an original soundtrack sung by senior Haley Nestel; team “Name” created a nature channel spoof about surviving in the North American wilderness; team “Grandma’s Gremlins” created a mysterious tale of a stranger that comes to town. Students applied industry-standard Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects to edit their films.

The judges reviewed the film submissions Saturday night and assessed them with a rigorous list of criteria including sequencing, cinematography, narrative, application of effects and incorporation of their surprise film constraints.

Chosen as the top film for the evening was “The Last Splash,” created by team “CMYK,” which included Easton High School seniors Natalie Joseph, Galen Marquess, Claire Weedon and Vlad Rada.

Local businesses KilnBorn, Storm and Daughters Ice-cream and Garden and Garnish catering, as well as the Chesapeake Film Festival, sponsored the event by donating prizes for the winning teams.

Garnette Hines, the interactive media production teacher at Easton High, organized the event to challenge students and give them an opportunity to work with professionals in the film industry. Each year she has tried to grow the event to make it better than the last year. After a challenging year where students have been limited in what they have been able to do, she said she was determined to find a way to make the annual “Film-in” happen.

As evidenced by the team’s blooper reels, teams had an absolute blast with the challenge. At the showcase, seniors Chloe Dixon and Luke Adelman immediately asked if they could do it again the next weekend.

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