The upcoming event at the high school will highlight student and community efforts.

Breanna Penney, a member of the South Portland High School Film Club, said the most important lesson she’s learned about movie making is from legendary director Steven Spielberg.

“(He’s) taught me the best part of a film is not how well you can use the camera, but how well you can tell a story,” she said this week.

Penney and the other members of the film club are looking forward to hosting the school’s first SPHS Film Festival, May 13, which will feature both student- and community-made films.

Each film will be 5 minutes or less in length and have a comedic take on the theme, “A Day in the Life.”

Julie York, the faculty adviser to the film club, said the students are looking forward to being able to screen between 10 and 15 films.

“Videos have become so easy to produce that most people make videos every day – so (we asked ourselves), why not have an event to showcase the talent of the local community?” she said.

The festival should “be a fun way to enjoy the films people create.”

She said most of the students in the school’s film club are intending to enter a movie into the festival, but York said the competition is also open to students at any area school.

“It should be a fun night,” she added, “and the more we can get people to come and participate the better the event.”

Bodhi Ouellette, a junior and one of the founders of the film club, said this week that what he’s most looking forward to about the upcoming film festival is viewing “all of the amazing (films) that the students and the community will enter.”

Ouellette said the film festival was created “with the intention of getting the community involved with making short films that are innovative and creative. I hope we get some major turnout for the festival, as well, and that the success of this (first event) means we can host more festivals in the future.”

He will be entering a film that he hopes to make with the help of several of his friends. Ouellette said he’s still toying with a couple of ideas, including making a movie about a kid who is being followed by a narrator, narrating his every move.

“Since the theme of the festival is not only comedy, but a day in the life, I figured that I could do something fun with the concept, and this is what I came up with,” he said.

In addition to screening short, comedic films, Ouellette said, the film club is also hard at work creating a feature film that will debut at the film festival, called “Bad Omen.”

“The movie opens with a high school student named Dave retelling his day to a plant at a coffee shop and it gets even more bizarre after that,” Ouellette said.

Ouellette, along with Penney and Ben Rooker, first had the idea to start a film club at South Portland High this fall, Ouellette said this week.

“I started the club mainly because I thought it would be excellent for students who may have an itch for film to get together with other students who share the same interests and have fun making movies together,” Ouellette said.

“I have always been fascinated by (this form) of storytelling, ever since I was young and watched animated films from Disney,” he added. “But it wasn’t until I watched the ‘Star Wars’ films for the first time that I grew more fond of live action than animated movies. And this love escalated even more once I watched documentaries about the making of the ‘Star Wars’ films and became enthralled with filmmaking.”

Ouellette hopes to become a professional filmmaker.

“For me, there is no other career better than this,” he said.

His top choice for post-secondary education is Emerson College in Boston, which has a film school dedicated to production, screenwriting and directing.

Like Ouellette, Penney said what she’s most looking forward to for the film festival is “seeing what our community has to offer.” In addition, she’s looking forward to “getting exposure” and meeting others who are also passionate about the art of filmmaking.

“I am infatuated with creation in any form,” Penney added.

What she most enjoys about making a film is the “strong passion” it takes to see an idea through from conception to editing.

“There are many things that draw me to film. Filmmaking expresses a story through a visual medium and, in special cases, leaves an (indelible) footprint,” she said. “Films such as ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ have been around for almost 80 years, yet (the power of) its story has not dissipated.”

Members of the South Portland High School Film Club are putting on a film festival featuring student- and community-submitted short films on May 13. From left are Bodhi Ouellette, Breanna Penney, Ben Rooker and Matt Iaboni. Courtesy photo

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