The semi-finals are the evening of the June 23 at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Austin. When someone watches the entire video, it increases the chance of the student’s films advancing to the next round. The public vote accounts for 30 percent of a movie’s total score. The films that receive the most votes from the public will receive the highest score, and it will be added to the films overall score.
There are five different film categories; sci-fi, comedy, adventure, thriller/suspense, or animation/stop-motion. The DPJH theater class have films competing in each category.
DPJH Theater teacher Jennifer McLaughlin said she is always looking for opportunities to showcase her student's talents.
“I want everyone one to see how awesome they are. We have entered a few of these contests. I expected maybe one to [qualify for the next round], and I was so excited when I realized 10 had. I was jumping around the school,” said McLaughlin.
Katelyn Defrancis said this is her first year performing in school theater but has been in plays with the Art Park Players for more than seven years.
“My film is about a baby and a cat and how the cat calms the crying baby. It came up with the idea based on my experience with losing my cat. I wrote it by myself, and it took four days,” she said.
Xavier Cantus’ film is a summer zombie movie. He said he got the inspiration from his love of the Walking Dead TV show and comic books.
“The hardest part of making my film was the actual filming. The other students were so excited to be superstars that they had a hard time calming down. I even had to fire a few of them,” Cantu said.
Cantu said he has learned a lot by writing, producing and directing his play.
“Besides the issues with filming everything else went as planned. Filmmaking is just a hobby to me. I plan on going to college so I can be in the medical field,” he said.
Whether the DPJH students win or lose in their categories, McLaughlin said she is proud of them and the hard work they have done.
“I cannot choose a favorite [film]. I consider all of the 180 students my children. They are so talented, and they can now showcase that to a bigger audience,” she said.
Voting is open to the public until April 28. Visit http://www.dpisd.org/Page/24209 to watch the students’ films.