Students show their films at festival

Young student filmmakers on Friday showcased short movies, music and documentary videos that they produced and directed last year at the second annual FilmFest 43 at the Alex Theatre.

Burbank students Nick Weber, 19, and Christina Reuter, 17, co-directed and –produced “Music Trash,” which won Best Experimental Short Film for its premise of using pieces of trash to make and compose music.

“It’s the ultimate art form,” Weber said of filmmaking.

Their win earned them lunch with Edgardo Simone, who has been a music orchestrator for films such as “Terminator Salvation,” the “Spiderman” trilogy and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Weber and Christina are planning to continue their filmmaking path despite the economic downturn because, he said, the movie industry has stood the test of time.

Films, Weber said, have provided people comfort during recessions such as the Great Depression.

“Film is the only thing that is economy proof,” he said. “It’s something that takes you away.”

Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, whose district includes the studio-rich area of Burbank and north Glendale, hosted the free festival, which included 17 student-produced films.

The film festival, Krekorian said, allowed students to show off their creativity, especially at a time when arts education in schools are facing budgets cuts.

Students shouldn’t be swayed from their career interests because of the recession, he said.

“There is always difficulties, but that shouldn’t stop people from pursuing their dreams,” Krekorian said.

Glendale, Burbank and Los Angeles-area students submitted 92 films that they produced and directed.

Only five with the best films were honored.

The Best Narrative and Best of Show award went to Providence High School students Grace Samson, Vivian Keshish, Sarah Jedlicka, Catherine Sanchez and Cassie Lohman for “Sound of Silence.”

The Burbank students get to have lunch with TV and film director Martha Coolidge, who directed “Valley Girl,” “The Prince and Me” and “Material Girls.”

Burbank High students Joseph Granatos and Jack Payaslyan won the Best Animation award for “Robot Rock.” Their reward? A class at Video Symphony, which teaches post-production film work.

Burbank students Krystal Jagosz, Mikey Demarco, Joe Barlak, Niki Lalla and Ariane Lebrilla won Best Music Video for “Can’t Change Me.” The Providence High students will get a chance to have lunch with music video director Tony Petrossian, who has worked with rock acts such as Slipknot, Three Days Grace, Gene Simmons and Slayer.

Judges screened each film, with those passing the first round moving to a full jury panel. The judges then selected 17 films to be shown at Friday night’s festival.

The judges were Ron Osborn, a writer and producer; Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission; Mike Petros, head of the Glendale Community College’s media arts department; and Doug Ward, academic administrator for UCLA Animation Workshop.

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