8th grader wins award for short western film

For some, the third time’s the charm.  But when a school summer program gave Xochi Maberry-Gaulke ’12 and four other middle school students a chance to try movie-making, recognition was almost instantaneous. 

The Kids First! Film Festival awarded Xochi second place in the middle school category on Oct. 7 for her work on the short film “The Good, the Bag and the Ugly.”

“This was the first movie I’ve ever worked on, so I was surprised that I won,” she said.  “Since then I’ve learned even more about filmmaking.” 

Last fall the mini-movie won third place in the Student Television Network’s national competition, and in March the film was selected for and screened at the Wildwood Film Festival. 

The movie was the collaborative effort of five middle school students. 
Xochi directed the film with assistant director Roxy Gordon ’12, while Jordan Freisleben ’11 directed photography and Charlotte Gordon ’12 and Xochi’s twin Marka ’12 starred as actresses.

The film is a silent spoof of an old western movie, in which Marka’s and Gordon’s characters have a “fashion show-down,” Xochi said.  Their battles, comprised of water fights, price tag  attacks and text message quarrels, culminate in a mad dash for a Coach bag lying in the middle of the upper school track. 

Both girls are beaten to the bag by a tumbleweed rolling across the screen, at which point the movie ends. 

The short film was created at the Harvard-Westlake summer program “Hot Shots,” taught by upper school video arts teacher Cheri Gaulke, Xochi and Marka’s mother.  
“Hot Shots,” run by Gaulke and John Glouchevitch ’06, debuted in the summer of 2006.  At the program, students have the opportunity to make music videos, blue-screen movies and silent films.    
  
Xochi said there were many themed videos made at “Hot Shots.”  Since her first movie, she has worked as a set designer and actress in a second film. 
Marka also participated in another film in the summer program’s second year, Xochi said.
 
Both twins are passionate about art and look up to their mother, who teaches video art at the Upper School and creates public art professionally.

For Xochi, while she learned a lot from her mom and sister, working with her family wasn’t as different as she expected.

“It was mostly fun for my friends and I to work together, deciding the outfits to wear and stuff,” she laughed. 

She found the filmmaking process and experience extremely rewarding. 

 “I encourage anyone who wants to do it next year to go ahead and do [Hot Shots],” Xochi said. “You learn how to edit and film movies, and it was so much fun.”