The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Student wins Director’s Choice Award at Westflix for stop-motion film

Nathan Wang
Guest speaker and prominent British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir speaks to the crowd at Westflix. The panel consisted of student directors Madison Baffo ’24, Jacob Lutsky ’24 and Yuuki Lubin ’24.

Hank Schoen ’24 won the Director’s Choice Award at Westflix for his film “Savta” on March 15. Westflix, the student-run film festival facilitated by the school, which selects student films throughout California every year for a screening and award ceremony. Awards are chosen in a variety of categories representing the various aspects of film, such as directing, editing and sound design. The Director’s Choice award is given to the film that directors enjoy the most.

“Savta” tells the story of the family traditions of Schoen’s childhood and the experiences he had with his grandmother using animated paper cutouts and narration from Noah Moling. Schoen was the only student from the school whose film was selected to be shown at the festival.

Schoen said he wanted viewers to relate to his own experiences and reflect on the small but meaningful moments in their lives.

“It’s not really a story about my grandmother, but more memories and anecdotes about her character,” Schoen said. “I wanted the audience to connect with their own family and their own childhood, to the memories that they’ve had with their family members and relate to the joy that they took in the small things.”

Video Art teacher and Westflix Faculty Advisor Reb Limerick said that the film immediately stood out to the festival directors because of the animation style.

“The voice-over was one of the first things that caught our attention,” Limerick said. “He chose a young actor to kind of embody his younger self. I just remember the first time watching it through I was so moved and delighted by it and impressed by all the work he had put into telling this beautiful story. Even though I couldn’t guarantee it at that moment, I had a feeling that the film might be part of Westflix this year.”

Westflix Director of Media and Promotion Jacob Lutsky ’24 said there was a large number of submissions reviewed this festival.

“This year, we got around 298 eligible submissions,” Lutsky said. “It’s about 90 minutes of [screening], so it was 16 films this year. We look at what the judges say and give an award to the film that the judges pick. [Ultimately], we had a really great balance of comedies, dramas and documentaries.”

Micah Parr ’25 said he enjoyed watching the film at the festival and was glad it was selected.

“‘Savta’ was a really well-made film, and was definitely deserving of being in the festival,” Parr said. “I’ve worked with animation before, and I know how much time it takes to do something like that. It’s really honest and sweet.”

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Everett Lakey, Assistant News Editor
Nathan Wang, Assistant News Editor

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