8 student-produced films and projects chosen for multiple national film festivals

Aaron Park

Eight Harvard-Westlake student films were selected for screening at the Archer, Newport Beach and CineYouth film festivals.

“Astro, Naught,” “Love and Music” and “The Story of Three Rings: A Memoir of Dana Schwartz” screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Saturday.

Katie Speare ’16 and Sacha Lin ’16 co-directed “Astro, Naught,” a music video collaboration with recording artist Moollz. The film previously won the Audience Award at the WestFlix film festival.

“Love and Music,” a production by Sophia Dienstag ’17, Ryan Finley ’16 and Sarah McAllister ’15 was produced as part of the HW Digital Storytelling Adventure to Cuba.

The five-minute short film discusses how the island nation’s lack of freedom of speech affects its music.

“The Story of Three Rings: A Memoir of Dana Schwartz” is an animated project by Harvard Westlake students Elly Hong ’17 and Dora Schoenberg ’16, as well as students from Immaculate Heart High School and John Adams Middle School.

It chronicles the life of Dana Schwartz, a Holocaust survivor. The film is a product of the Harvard-Westlake Summer Film Program’s Righteous Conversations Project.

Two films, “Quote, Unquote” and “The Big A,” will play tonight at 7:15 at the Arclight Culver City at the Archer Film Festival.

“Quote, Unquote,” another product of the Summer Film Program, is a comedy directed by Nicole Bahar ’18 and Noa Schwartz ’18.

The film tells the story of two girls in a cinema studies class.
“The Big A” was produced by Video Art II students.

Another comedy, it centers around a discussion of The Scarlet Letter.
The CineYouth film festival in Chicago also accepted three Harvard-Westlake films, including “Para Cuba,” “Music Saved My Life” and “The Story of Three Rings: A Memoir of Dana Schwartz.”

“Para Cuba” is another product of the Digital Storytelling Adventures trip to Cuba. Directed by Angela Chon ’16 and Mikaela Wolfsdorf ’16, the film investigates the condition of Cuban life under the communist regime and American embargo.

“We wanted to showcase daily Cuban life, especially because it will be changing after the embargo is finally lifted,” Wolfsdorf said. “We focused a lot on people’s hopes for the future, and we wanted to show that even though their day to day lives are different from American lives, their hopes for the future were similar to what we want for ourselves.”

“Music Saved My Life” was directed by Teresa Suh ’17 and Cole Kawana ’16 as part of another Digital Storytelling Adventure, this one to Cuba. It focuses on the power of music as a tool to heal Cambodia after the genocide.

“Through my video, I wanted to show how music helps us recognize our struggles and move past them,” Suh said. “I’m really excited to be recognized for my work.”