A Look Inside The Broadneck Film Festival


Broadneck High School’s 18th annual film festival was held on February 29 and showcased films of various genres from middle and high school students around Anne Arundel County. This year’s event was the biggest so far and was a collaboration between Broadneck’s signature program, which is focused on environmental literacy, and the film program, creating a perfect combination for a variety of features.

In addition to the screening of student films, an environmental action fair was held, allowing several environmentally based organizations to share their campaigns. Broadneck’s improv team also participated in the event by serving as entertainment during the festival’s intermission. This year’s festival was sponsored by the Parole Rotary Club.

The event was broken up into two main categories: the environmental-based films and regular film submissions. The environmental literacy program at Broadneck drives a lot of film submissions, so its own category was created. Overall, the night was full of interesting and well-curated films, but only a couple of films from both categories could take home a win.

The environmental category had three awards — Best Documentary, Best Advocacy and Best Overall Film — which were all won by Broadneck students. Best Documentary was awarded to “Poplar Island - An Educational Adventure” by Scarlett Grasso, Best Advocacy was given to “Affordable Sustainability” by Jaime Bates, and Best Overall Film went to “CCA Living Reef Action Campaign” by Grace Gartell.

In the category of regular film submissions, four awards were distributed, including Technical Merit, Artistic Merit, Honorable Mention and Overall Best Film. Technical Merit was won by the film “Gone” by Archbishop Spalding students Nathan Winn and Chad Grant, and Artistic Merit went to Broadneck senior Olivia Mawhinney, who is a three-time winner at the Broadneck Film Festival. Honorable Mention was given to “Mise en Stupid” by CAT South student Nathan Divito, and Overall Best Film was won by Broadneck junior Judah Goldstein for his film “Find My.” Goldstein is another veteran winner at the event and is also heavily involved in different film programs at Broadneck.

Regardless of who won an award, every film was creative in its own way. Broadneck junior Anna Schneider submitted a film that she wrote, directed and produced, with no prior experience. Her film, “High Stakes,” was inspired by playing a game in her health class in school, a game that she thought would be funny to capture in slow motion. Schneider’s entry stood out because of her choice to film it in black and white and have it be a silent feature, which she chose to do because it “made [her film] look more like film noir.”

Besides submitting a film, Schneider recalled her favorite memory of the event being “to see everyone’s films and getting to meet other students who also submitted films.” She has plans to create a film for next year’s festival, with an in-depth plot.

The Broadneck Film Festival would have been nowhere near as successful as it was without its two main coordinators, Broadneck film program teacher Donald Stimely and environmental literacy signature site coordinator Stacy Roth. These Broadneck staff members combined their two teaching areas to create the Broadneck Film Festival. Previously, the festivals were separated, but when Roth took over her position at Broadneck, she proposed the idea of combining the event to gain traction from different audiences. When asked about her favorite part about planning the festival, Roth said, “I love seeing all the films when they first come in and to see each kid’s style shine through.”

Roth recalled that her favorite memory from the past film festival was “working the front door with Mr. Stimely; it is always so entertaining!” She also included how much she enjoys how the event is totally student-run, including student emcees and hosts for the show.

Stimely shared that his favorite memory every year is “seeing the crowd react to each of the films and giving every film an audience to experience it.” He specifically pointed out how difficult it is even for accomplished filmmakers to find audiences for their work, so he was thrilled to provide that for so many aspiring filmmakers.

The Broadneck Film Festival was an amazing event in the Broadneck community and beyond, Roth expressed.

“[The] film festival is a really cool and unique collaboration and an opportunity to bring a lot of people together,” Roth said.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here