Five South Carolina homeschool students were named winners in the 2015 Young Filmmakers Project, a high school filmmaking competition promoting state parks and media arts education.
The contest was a joint effort of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Film Office and Trident Technical College. They encouraged participants to put together a story through film about the state park of their choice.
“Video production is such a major part of today’s creative economy,” said Tom Clark with the South Carolina Film Commission. “It’s a skill that crosses all industries and disciplines. This contest is a way for South Carolina students to see the power of media as a communication tool, and to experience the joy of making films and videos.”
Azure Allen, an 8th grade student from Conway who is homeschooled using the Waldorf method, claimed first place for “The Sharpest Sense,” which was filmed at Table Rock State Park. Her mom said, “You can see the magical imprint of every story she heard, nature walk we took, and painting we did all over it.” Azure created the script; wrote, performed, and recorded the music; painted the backgrounds; and did the filming, editing and animating herself – not bad considering she never touched a computer until she was 12!
Sabri Irizarry, Taylor Irizarry, and Aslan Irizarry, all Columbia homeschool students, placed second for “Oh Henry,” which was filmed at Sesquicentennial State Park.
Christopher Collins, a homeschooled student from Pawley’s Island, placed third for “The One,” which was filmed at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site.
After a record number of entries were received, judges and public voting determined that these students were the best among dozens of short film entries submitted in the contest this year.
“This is the fourth year of the contest and the entries just keep getting better and better, from all across the state,” said project coordinator Brad Jayne. “These two-minute films are very diverse and entertaining, with real quality. I think audiences are really going to enjoy them.”
The contest was open to all South Carolina high school students. Entries were due in February and were required to follow certain creative parameters. The films had to tell a story, and each entry had to be between 30 seconds to two minutes in length, including at least one scene filmed at a South Carolina State Park.
Judges rated the films on creativity of concept, overall quality and production value, and strength of story. The top ten finalists were put to a public vote on YouTube. The winners were given cash prizes and trophies. Their films were screened at the Charleston International Film Festival, where Azure Allen and Christopher Collins were accompanied by one other winner and two students who received honorable mentions.
“We are so proud that we have been able to show off the dynamic young film-making talent we have in South Carolina who tell stories about their experiences at state parks,” said South Carolina film official Tom Clark. View the homeschoolers’ winning projects:
FIRST PLACE WINNER: Azure Allen
A beautiful video that explores the magic and wonder of nature.
SECOND PLACE: Sabri Irizarry, Taylor Irizarry, and Aslan Irizarry
An energetic musical in which Henry is lost and they search the park to find him.
See also: Behind the Scenes
THIRD PLACE: Christopher Collins
As this touching video shows, you never know when or where you will meet “the one.”
Below are two of the ten finalists, both of whom are homeschooled:
Shattered, by Nathan Sheeley, Homeschool, Charleston, SC
A music video filmed in Charles Towne Landing about a boy’s relationship with his iPhone.
Filling the Gap, by Ian O’Donnell, Homeschool, Spartanburg, SC
A short film that features Jones Gap State Park as the inspiration for an original song.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THE WINNERS & FINALISTS!!!