Among the ranks of acclaimed and independent filmmakers sporting badges at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival this March, several will look as if they took a detour on a high school field trip.
Rest assured, they’re supposed to be there, and they’ll show you why.
Juniors Jonah Goldberg and Evan O’Brien are two of several Greenhill students whose films were accepted into the festival’s high school competition. Both are SXSW veterans, who said they are itching to get back to the festival.
Getting the films from idea to submission this December took time.
what to watch
Here are the other Preston Hollow high school films that were accepted at SXSW this year.
Director: Devan Prabhakar
St. Mark’s School of Texas
Director: August Graue
St. Mark’s School of Texas
GOOD NIGHT LIZZIE
Director: Kriti Narayanan
BADI’ AL ZAMAN
Director: Arhum Khan
Director: Zoe Allen
Director: Adam Weider
Director: Cole Forson,
Arhum Khan, Jason Davis, Garrett Stoler, Dirk
Czarnecki, & Cameron Bossalini
“This is all about growth,” said Corbin Doyle, their film studies teacher. “We have a process we go through. We workshop ideas, pitch them to each other, develop scripts, start shooting, and put them together to work from there. It’s a three-and-a-half month process.”
As part of Doyle’s 54-member advanced video production class, students are required to submit original films to several festivals around the nation. The process helps educate students about the industry, as they have to go through all the motions any filmmaker would, Doyle said.
“There’s that special moment, especially if you’ve been even remotely doing the process right, that you hit submit to send your film off,” Doyle said. “It’s cathartic. It’s a beautiful moment in the room when people are congratulating each other, hugging, and starting to tear up because they’ve finished it and took it to an end.”
Using Adobe Premier to edit their footage, students work during the fall semester to prepare for spring and summer festivals.
“I really wanted to try making a post-apocalyptic movie because I’ve seen attempts, success and failure in it,” Goldberg said. “And a lot of failure comes from people not making the world believable. I wanted to see if, as a high schooler, I could do that.”
Goldberg said he spent the summer building props, refining his script, and making costumes for his film, Icarian. Shooting the film was even more of a feat, he said.
“We shot an hour and a half away,” Goldberg said. “It was kind of a pain getting everyone together. It was a strong lesson in being prepared. If you’re going somewhere far away to film, you can’t just forget anything.”
O’Brien said his films and collaborations with other student filmmakers were opportunities to create original scores — a practice he has used as a way to further personalize his own films, including his submission, Katharos.
“There are specific subgenres of metal and loud electronic music that I think are really cinematic, and I don’t think filmmakers are really tapping into that potential,” O’Brien said.
Katharos entertains the idea of futuristic dream therapists in the form of computer intelligence — a theme O’Brien said fit perfectly with his heavy, electronic score.
And entertaining ideas is what SXSW is all about.
“The great thing about South By Southwest is that they treat [the students] the same way they treat anyone that gets in the film festival,” Doyle said. “Whether you’re [Quentin] Tarantino or whoever, they treat each one very well.”