Students showcase films at SCREEN Festival

Jenny Li

Student videographers Becca Frischling ’19, Xenia Bernal ’19, Kyle Reims ‘21 and Angel Hoyang ’18 will be showcasing films “Peace by Piece: The Story of Harry Davids” and “From Farm to Cup” at the second annual Screen Student Documentary Festival Feb. 25.

12 documentaries were chosen out of over 230 submissions to be screened at the festival, held at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica.

Hoyang independently filmed and produced “From Farm to Cup” during last summer’s HW Go! Digital Storytelling trip to Guatemala. The film features independent Guatemalan coffee farmers and highlights the culture of the third-world country, Hoyang said.

“Right now, as we’re living in such a commercial, industrial world, there is a lack of connection between our food and where it came from,” Hoyang said. “I wanted to bring people back to our agricultural roots by showing how authentic coffee farmers lived and worked to produce their crop.”

Reims, Frischling and Bernal created their film with Dora Schoenberg ’16 and three students from outside schools at the Righteous Conversations Project Digital Storytelling Workshop, a two week Harvard-Westlake summer program where students record, distill and animate a Holocaust survivor’s story. The short documentary features survivor Harry Davids’ childhood experiences during the Holocaust.

“I love the way the summer program brought together kids from many schools to collaborate to transform these important personal experiences of the Holocaust, in order to share it with a wider audience,” Visual Arts Department Head Cheri Gaulke said. “[I hope the film festival will help] students see the power of media and how their films can raise awareness about people in other times and places.”

At the festival, one of the 12 films screened will be presented the best documentary and best PSA award.

“I hope the audience will gain an understanding and interests of the history by learning about Holocaust survivors,” Frischling said. “I’m so happy we were accepted into this film festival, and I think it is such an important opportunity to be able to tell Harry’s story so that they can think about it for themselves.”

The documentary festival is a segment of the SCREEN Student Film Festival, which has been running for the past nine years. Previously, the film festival only selected narrative films, but due to the popularity of last year’s opening of the documentary and PSA festival, hosts Student Filmmaker of Pacifica and American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre have chosen to continue holding the documentary festival to continue inspiring creativity among high school filmmakers and celebrating filmmaking achievements, the website wrote.

“Somewhere Between” director and “Makers: Women in Hollywood” producer and director Linda Goldstein Knowlton will be speaking in a Q&A session with the audience.

“I’m really honored to have a documentary be selected for the festival,” Hoyang said. “I’m glad that more people will be able to see my film and it’s message to spread awareness, which was the initial purpose of making the documentary.”