Above: AIFF2020 Launch awards presentation and Q&A with winners and Jerry Kenefick of Rotary Lithia Springs.
Fortunately for the filmmakers who submitted their work to our Student Launch competition, this year’s films were all completed long before issues of social distancing arose for the sake of COVID-19 safety. Even so, only one of these films was created outside the student filmmaker’s home studio! AIFF 2020’s Student Launch competition embraced a more diverse collection of submissions than ever before – and the quality of the film shorts–each five minutes or less–was so terrific that our Launch Jurors found that making their decision was far from easy.
We’re pleased to share the results with you. The jurors selected four winners, one each in the categories of Kindergarten – 5th Grade; 6th - 8th Grade; High School; and College Undergrad. These films, along with the many finalists’ films, which were not the category winners, cover a broad range of genres and filmmaking styles. Our elementary school winner delivered a wondrous glimpse of the dream-world of a cat named Humphrey, which includes a colorful cartoon-animated tour of Ashland from a cat’s point-of-view. Our middle-school winner created a stop-motion animated space adventure, using only Lego characters. Our high school winner pushed creative boundaries by producing a fresh new vision of experimental film, a true art piece set to electronic music. And our college winner gave a solid pitch for solo-filmmaking by writing, performing, and editing his own live-action comedy piece (okay, he did have a cameraman!). Themes of the Launch line-up cover everything from the inclusivity of friendship to a bossy guinea pig who is very determined to meet the Student Launch deadline!
K-5 Winner: The Whimsical Adventure of Humphrey (D: Grace Snyder)
6-8 Winner: Meanwhile in Space... (D: Aden Maloney)
9-12 Winner: xikatrbwcsi2tze (D: Jordan Mavromatis)
College Winner: The Dangers of Narration (D: Zachary Vandehey)
AIFF 2020’s Student Launch program is stronger than ever, and our AIFF 2020 audiences will get a chance to enjoy the work of all the winners and finalists on the AIFF 2020 Virtual platform. We owe special thanks to the Rotary Club of Ashland Lithia Springs, which, once again, generously donated the cash awards granted to all four of the Student Launch winners.
If you know a student who is interested in making a film, tell them that social distancing need not be a barrier! The potential is infinite for creating an animated or stop-motion short on a computer (or phone) and there are many apps available to make the process easier. Live action films starring a student’s family or pet is another great possibility. And although it’s too early to submit a Student Launch film to AIFF2021, it isn’t too early to create one! Submissions will be open again in the fall, and any film made this year will qualify. All qualifying submitters will receive two free vouchers to next season’s AIFF, and the winners always get a full pass to AIFF, in addition to cash prizes. Find more information about Launch here. Meanwhile, enjoy the Student Launch program on this year’s virtual platform, free to subscribers and non-subscribers alike!