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Film Prize Junior movie winners are picked from 60 entrants

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We have a story now about Film Prize Junior, which is the largest student film festival in the South. This year, the Louisiana-based program expanded to New Mexico, where judges selected winners from 60 movies made by middle and high school students.

TULSI SHAW: I love to tell stories, so whether it's filmmaking or writing books or even telling stories with my art - like, drawing or painting.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Tulsi Shaw's film "Earth" won the judges' choice for the middle school Grand Prize. It's a Claymation creation about a three-inch-tall being who leaves his family to explore an alien planet - this planet.

TULSI: He goes on all these little adventures and finds all these treasures. But when it's time for him to go back to his planet and family, he realizes that not all the treasures will fit in his spaceship. And so he can only choose one to bring back.

INSKEEP: He chose a sunflower seed. Tulsi says watching her animated character on a big screen was an epic moment.

TULSI: The first film that I ever saw in a movie theater was my film. I thought that was a really fun experience, and it was awesome.

MARTINEZ: Jared Trevizo and his fellow filmmaker Victoria Chacon took home the judges' choice Grand Prize for high school students. Their film follows two high school students who commute from a border town in Mexico and go to school in Deming, N.M. It's called "Estela En El Mar," or "A Wake In The Sea."

VICTORIA CHACON: A ship's wake - it's the path. And when you're in the water, there's no path for you to follow, no road to go - to ride on. You make your own path. I feel like that - the title - was just a deeper meaning into what our film was really about.

JARED TREVIZO: And if they, by chance, look back, they're just going to see the path they've created.

INSKEEP: Each of the Grand Prize winners received a $1,000 grant for film equipment for their school, plus a cash prize for the teacher who inspired and sponsored them. Their goal is to foster even more young talent for filmmaking.

(SOUNDBITE OF MARCUS D'S "NOCTILUCA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.