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2024 Short Film Festival "Scene and Heard" Held at West Orange High School

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The third annual Short Film Festival, "Scene and Heard," was held on May 15, featuring 11 films by talented young filmmakers from West Orange High School.

The films were written, directed, produced and starred West Orange High School students, many of whom are part of the Screenwriter’s Society. The genres included three categories: narratives, documentary, and animation and ran in length from two to 29 minutes.

Filmgoers were welcomed by advisor Bard Goodrich and Screenwriter’s Society President Ethan Szymanski. Szymanski took a moment to recognize the Screenwriter’s Society founder, Tynia Thomassie, who is retiring after several years in the school district as an English-Language Arts teacher and Google Integration Specialist.

Following the screening, the filmmakers were joined for a Question and Answer period by Ryan Moore, Education Manager with Montclair Film and a Fairleigh Dickinson University professor, Grace Pula, Montclair State University Graduate Assistant in Film Studies, and Ms. Thomassie.

“Collaboration is the heart and soul of filmmaking,” Moore noted during the discussion.

“From the crew, to lighting, to voice-overs, you’re constantly learning from one another, so just be open,” said Pula.

Thomassie explained, “The pre-planning shoot is the most fun, and then you take a look at what you’ve got and then comes a lot of problem-solving,” as the young filmmakers nodded in agreement.

“It’s a very tough thing working with human beings,” added Szymanski.

"They have their own lives and schedules. It tested my ability to socialize and collaborate with others.”

“It’s also important to build relationships with people in your community,” stated Jonathan Mason, whose film “Remember Your Why: The Power of a Story” included interviews with community members.

“Keeping up morale and motivating people fosters collaboration and helps to keep things cohesive,” Dylan Schatell, co-writer and director of “Take My Hand” commented.

Sean Harrington, who wrote and directed his “Offseason” film with James Der, mentioned, “we were two directors with different visions, and we had to extrapolate the best of two separate visions through collaboration.”

“There were so many times locations fell through, actors got sick, and the plot had to change as the film evolved. Procrastination is real – take a break to reignite and remind yourself of your passion”, Pula added.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” concluded Thomassie.

“Sometimes you have to move on to hold on to your passion and story.”

Read all about the films and filmmakers and see all the photos HERE.

WOHS Short Film Festival

(L-R) Filmmakers Noah Caesar, Jonathan Mason, Ethan Szymanski, Sean Harrington, James Der, Ayanna Jones, Dylan Schatell, Basil Lyons

WOHS Short Film Festival

Grace Pula, Tynia Thomassie, and Ryan Moore

WOHS Short Film Festival

Advisor Bard Goodrich

WOHS Short Film Festival

Presented films. (*) represents films created for the "Ten-Day Film Challenge in Advanced Theater class.

Cynthia Cumming
May 19,2024