Minor works: The tenth annual Sawyer Film Festival

Left-to-right: Quin Carey (Best Actress), Kaina Gil (Best Film), Nick Perpetua (CVP II Best Individual Project), Sissy Martinez (Best Director)

Left-to-right: Quin Carey (Best Actress), Kaina Gil (Best Film), Nick Perpetua (CVP II Best Individual Project), Sissy Martinez (Best Director)

The Sawyer Film Festival is something students work toward all year long. It’s a night of celebration and glamour after a school year of nail-biting, hair-pulling and struggle.

On Friday, June 5, approximately 400 people gathered in the high school auditorium to view the work of this year’s computer video production (CVP) and broadcast journalism classes. It was the tenth annual festival, and it might have been the best yet.


While the film festival is mainly for the CVP and CVP II classes, students of broadcast journalism also have a chance to participate. Kyle Kanyan and Kenan Irvin, two seniors, hosted this year’s festival. They were chosen as hosts because of their successful completion of the “CVP trilogy,” meaning they took all three classes. Broadcast journalism is the third level of the program, where mostly seniors learn about the history of television, how to ethically cover a news story and create a monthly broadcast news magazine. They may enter their best news story of the year to compete for the Broadcast Journalism Award.

Students in the two CVP classes are observed throughout the year. Based on attitude, participation, quality of work and overall leadership ability, two to three directors are chosen from each class to lead the other students in the making of final films. This year’s picks were Quin Carey, Sarah Fullman, Amalia Martinez, Mia Pedersen and Sissy Martinez, all from the class of 2017. Their films competed to enter the festival and once selected, they competed for awards.

This year’s best director, Sissy Martinez, spoke about the struggle of leading her group. “When it came time to get down to work, it was difficult because we all have very strong voices that kind of overpower each other,” she said. “So I had to yell a lot, but in the end everything worked out. I mean, we won best film, surprisingly.”

Kaina Gil, lead actress and producer of that film, “Who Do You Want Me To Be?” discussed the value of this project. “I learned how to be responsible, how to manage time and how to prioritize. Keeping my cool also, that was tough.”

One of the most prestigious awards is Most Valuable Player. The award recognizes one student from each level of CVP who displayed an exceptional quality of work and attitude throughout the year.

Amalia Martinez won the award for the first level. Her dedication was second to none.

“If I could marry this project, I would,” she said.

She would have seemed an unlikely choice back in September.

“When I signed up for CVP I was like, ‘What am I doing? I can barely take a good picture. Why am I gonna take a class where I have to film?’ But when I got here, I realized how much I love it, and it means so much to me because it means that I’m actually good at this. I think this is going to get me somewhere in life.”

For CVP II, Sam Waldron seemed the obvious choice. Sam goes to studio 217 every chance he gets, and always with an air of positivity. As part of the funding for the program, students produce and sell DVDs of school events. Half of the money goes to the program, and half goes to student scholarships. “Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting it,” he said. “This class is a great place to express my ideas. It provides a good opportunity for creativity and individuality.”

The film festival is about much more than awards. Even for those who don’t win, seeing their work on the big screen with hundreds in attendance is a gratifying experience.



Best Actor – Mitch Lindenbaum

Best Actress – Quin Carey

Best Music Video – Dan Caffrey and Kelsey Gaulin: “Thinking of You”

Best Commercial – Delaney Beck, Sarah Fullman and Noah VanDerbeck: “Doritos”

Best Student Broadcast Story – Curtis Jorgensen: “Wacky Holidays”; Biko Skalla: “21st Century Politics” (tie)

Best Public Service Announcement – Kelsey Gaulin: “Teen Dating Violence”

Best CVP II Individual Production – Nick Perpetua: “The Day Before Tomorrow”; Sam Waldron and Nick Perpetua: “Urban Lyfe” (tie)

Best Screenplay – “The Journey to Happiness” – Mia Pedersen, Delaney Beck, Kenan Bernard, Kayla Bishop and Keilly Wickham

Best Film – “Who Do You Want Me To Be?” – Sissy Martinez, Anthony Beaulieu, Irving Brown, Josephine Chiodo, Kaina Gil, Will Robinson and Abby Smedek

Best Director – Sissy Martinez

Best Editing CVP – “Snow White 2.0” – Sarah Fullman, Emily Henne, James LaTorre, Caitlyn Sauer, Shelby Smith and Noah VanDerbeck

Best Editing CVP II – “One Person Play” – Tim Quesnell

MVP of CVP – Amalia Martinez

MVP of CVP2 – Sam Waldron