Student filmmakers host their own Oscars night
June 23, 2009
By Christopher Huber
For his age, Beaver Lake Middle School eighth-grader Cody Hatfield is good at making movies. He and his friends often make videos for fun and post them on YouTube.
But Hatfield also has a knack for acting, directing and editing movies in teacher David Clymer’s Advanced Video class.
He won the Steven Spielberg Award June 10 at the second annual BLMS Oscars night.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Hatfield said. “Everyone told me that they thought I should win it.”
The award went to Hatfield because as a director and editor, he demonstrated skills that went above and beyond what Clymer taught in class. The Steven Spielberg Award was one of 13 categories highlighted at the event in the school library. About 25 students gathered with friends and family members to view the year’s best productions from all four production groups.
“I was pleased with it. It really represented just the overall breadth and creativity they put into all their productions this year,” Clymer said after the event. “It’s really fun to see what comes out of the favorite ones. It’s not always what you think it’s going to be.”The evening began with a screening of each group’s best production of the year. The groups of five to seven students each produced three full-scale movies each trimester based on specific themes, such as “The Great Pie Heist,” or “The Babysitting Predicament,” Clymer said. The goal of the class is to give students experience working with storylines and visual media.
“In the final trimester, they really started to get the feel of pacing, and the acting started getting real good,” he said. “That’s what gets everybody interested in it. You really get some really talented kids.”
Each 10- to 12-minute film featured new skills and techniques they learned in class and starred a range of actors and actresses.
Seventh-grader McCall Kistler won best female actor based on her work as a character who was obsessed with mustard throughout her group’s movies.
“I was surprised that I was the best female actor, Kistler said after the awards. I didn’t think it would be me.”
Having just completed her first year in the class, she said she appreciated doing something she and all her classmates thoroughly enjoyed.
“I think it’s really cool that (Mr. Clymer) did that, because he let us show parents and friends what we did, and it was really cool and fun to see all the parents and how they enjoyed our videos,” she said.
Hatfield, like many of the students in the much-sought-after elective class, said he likes it for the sake of experimenting with new ideas and techniques. The class is the only one of its kind in the Sammamish area, according to Clymer and the Issaquah School District.
“I always thought it’s cool to make your own movies and seeing what the finished product is,” Hatfield said.
Although he taught 25 students in 2008-2009, Clymer said he already has 32 students signed up for next school year.
“At the middle school level, there’s nothing like it. They’re doing high school-level work,” he said. “It’s the kind of class I wish would’ve been around when I was in school.”
And the 2009 winners are…
- Stephen Spielberg Award – Cody Hatfield
- Best Male Actor – Austin Talbot
- Best Female Actor – McCall Kistler
- Best Picture – Radio Flyers
- Best overall movie – Radio Flyers: Babysitting Predicament
- Best Plot – Radio Flyers
- Best use of sound effects – Twinkie Family
- Best Action scene – Radio Flyers
- Best montage – Bomb.com
- Funniest Moment – Twinkie Family
- Most Successful Group – Radio Flyers
- Best parent actor – Janet Patto
Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.