IB film students nominated best in their category


IB film students with Tom Oliva, the co-founder of the festival.

Six students competed at the All American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF) an invitational film festival in New York City, New York in October. The AAHSFF is the biggest high school film festival in the country and students come from all over the country to compete.

Their film, titled An “Unexpected State of Mind”, starts as a story of a budding romance where a boy and a girl keep meeting all over New York, but has a plot twist at the end.

“The film itself is something that will make you think and it is unexpected… they keep meeting each other and eventually we see where they go in the relationship,” said senior Nicole Tucker, the director and co-editor. “It’s all very twist-like and I think if you want a way to question yourself and to take another look at society and take another look at relationships.”

When Tucker heard about the competition, she had to find others to work with her and pick roles. She worked with seniors Sydney Fisher, Brady Dunne, Vincent Paz and Mauricio Alvacon from her International Baccalaureate (IB) film class. She also brought in senior Sydney Miller from theatre to write the script as well as professional and student actors from Philadelphia and New York.

“I knew I wanted to be the cinematographer because I like working with cameras and Nicole wanted to be the director because she has a vision,” said Fisher.

The prompt for the contest came out on August 1, of this year, ‘state of mind’, which had to be used in their title. They went through several ideas, from teen pregnancy to how-to videos before they landed on a romance with a twist at the end.

“The ending, I think is one of the best parts,” said Miller. “I mean the film for made in three days is a really good film, but the ending is the finishing touch.”

They had 10 weeks for pre-production, which included writing the script, creating the shot list, writing music, casting actors, location scouting, creating schedules and fundraising. The group had to raise $4000 through school and community bake sales and a GoFundMe page. They worked hard to show other schools what they were capable of.

“It’s just really something to get myself out there and to also present W-L as a contender because with the film invitational, most of the schools are private art schools or public schools with a lot of money,” Tucker said. “We are just a public school from Arlington with a film class, so it was really saying, ‘we can do this, we are here.’”

The film was a collaborative process. Miller had to work closely with Fisher and Tucker who were co-editing the film and Paz and Alarcon who were writing the music.

“We all had the same goal in mind but how we wanted to get there was completely different so there would be moments of stress and high tension because we had a deadline as well,” said Miller. “But overall… it was really, really fun, we would do it again in a heartbeat, I know that.”

Filming the movie was just as complicated. The students had to move their schedule around because of rain and faced equipment difficulties when their tripod was too short for one of the scenes. Their hard work paid off, though, when they were nominated for ‘Best Overall for the 3-Day Invitational’.

“We didn’t know that we were nominated until the night of the Teen Indie Awards,” said Tucker. “They were reading the nominations and we were just holding our hands so tight and we were on the verge of tears. [It] was really, really cool for that to happen. It was insane to watch it on a really big screen.”

Tucker and Fisher are still editing the film to fix the coloring after they had to reshoot scenes from the rain and fix some of the audio so it all aligns with the film, but they are proud of what they accomplished in such a short time period..

“We mainly wanted to make something that we were proud of and something that told a story and connected with the audience,” said Fisher. “We just wanted something to provoke an emotional response and I think we achieved that.”