Alcuin School Student Shines at South by Southwest

Filmmaker Stanley Turner, a junior, screens ‘Story Time’ at iconic Austin festival

Austin’s iconic South by Southwest (SXSW) festival has long been an international draw for the most creative minds in music, film, interactive media, tech, and beyond.

The annual exhibition of up-and-coming artists and out-of-the-box intellectuals has championed entertainers like Ben Harper, Johnny Cash, and Iggy Pop while showcasing such films as A Quiet Place, Baby Driver, and 21 Jump Street.

This year, an Alcuin School filmmaker added his contribution.

Stanley Turner, a junior, was among a select number of high school filmmakers to debut his work during this spring’s SXSW film festival. His short, Story Time, a twist on traditional fairy tales, earned him the honor.

And while Turner’s films have appeared at festivals such as the Dallas International Film Festival, the Pegasus Film Festival, and the All-American High School Film Festival, this one helped him understand everything that goes into producing a compelling product.

Kicking off this project among the chaos of COVID made the learning curve that much steeper.

“I wrote this film back in September of 2020 and could tell then that it was going to be my best project yet,” said Turner. “But September of 2020 was not a good time to make films. I had to schedule things out and really get into the mindset of a producer. It forced me to buckle down, whereas before, I would just write, direct, and edit. This was much more complicated.”

Turner’s love of craft and logistical experience drove him through the hurdles. He’s been making movies since before he was even eligible to participate in the film program at Alcuin School.

Beginning in the eighth grade, he’d borrow cameras from Alcuin film instructor Tamitha Curiel.

“As an eighth-grader, she’d allow me to take cameras home over the weekend to create my films; then, over time, I started getting better and better at it,” Turner said. “Then eventually, I had films that were ready to go to festivals. You know, I’ve always felt like a creative, but there’s never been a place that allowed me to grow in that creativity as much as Alcuin.”
Though he knew his chances of a SXSW screening were slim, he was more concerned with the quality of picture he’d produced as the real payoff.

“Alcuin has submitted for the last couple of years with no luck,” said Turner. “I knew it was my favorite project to date, and that was enough for me. But when I heard that Story Time was one of 22 films accepted out of 4,200 submitted, there was really something special about that.”

Turner is far from finished. Next year, he’ll continue in the film program with Mrs. Curiel and then plans to pursue film school after graduation.

Grab your popcorn, Preston Hollow.

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