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Film enthusiasts win awards during Oceanside festival

Senior Jesse Pilnik, 17, accepts the "Best in

Senior Jesse Pilnik, 17, accepts the "Best in Show" award for his film at the Oceanside School District's fourth annual film festival. (April 27, 2012) (Credit: Brittany Wait)

Adriana Cespedes loves filming Manhattan’s seemingly-endless skyscrapers and the passersby.

One day, she filmed her 12-year-old brother building a fortress out of dominos.

Cespedes later produced a two-minute video about a boy who grows up to be one of the builders of the new World Trade Center tower, the soon-to-be tallest skyscraper in New York.

At Oceanside School District’s fourth annual Student Film Festival on Friday, her documentary, “Boy Engineer,” won a “Foovie,” a hand-made award for films and movies, for “Best Drama.”

“I just love the city and love filming,” said Cespedes,17. “I dream of being a filmmaker and when I grow up, winning an Academy Award.”

About 500 people spent two hours watching 45 short films in the high school’s auditorium.

Through sales of popcorn, snacks and CDs, the festival raised $500 for Oceanside Community Service, an agency that provides for the homeless, and $100 for the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Students in grades six and up submitted 100 short films, but the film festival committee, consisting of seven faculty members, narrowed them down to just fewer than half.

The awards, given by category and grade level, included best music video, movie trailer, documentary and commercial. The “Best in Show” award allowed the audience to vote by texting their favorite short film.

Elizabeth Webb, 16, won the award for “Best Stop Motion,” for her video, “Between the Lines,” involving a vintage “Alice in Wonderland” book falling from a bookshelf and fairytale characters jumping out of its pages.

“I spent a weekend taking pictures and putting it all together,” said Webb, a sophomore. “I had fun even though it was so tedious.”

Audrey Miller, Oceanside High School’s broadcast and film teacher, was thrilled to see so many of her students submit their work to the festival.

“One thing I love about this type of opportunity is that it teaches students how to be creative and communicate,” Miller said. “It teaches them to think outside the academic box.”

Many of the high school students from Miller’s broadcasting class submitted their work not only to the festival, but also to the Locust Valley Film Festival, which ended last month.

One of these students included Zach Feldman, 17, a junior, who won an award for “Star-crossed Lovers,” a music video for Approaching Troy, a local alternative band.

His documentary, “Anthony,” which is about Anthony Peruffo, an autistic student crowned homecoming king last October, also won best documentary at the Locust Valley Film Festival.

In the film, the high school football players lift Peruffo into the air, seconds after he is crowned.

“Diversity means that there is a place for everyone,” Feldman said in the video. “Even though Anthony is different because of his disabilities, he is respected and accepted.”

Tags: Oceanside

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