The Mount Airy Public Library held its second annual Teen Film Festival this week as a part of the celebration of Teen Tech Week, which also included a free movie and teen-oriented activities like a craft class and art class.
All short films submitted had two requirements: made by and starring teenagers, and all had to be inspired by a classic movie. Angela Llewellyn of the Mount Airy Public Library said she defined classic film loosely, and really just wanted to see what the teenagers came up with.
This year, the library received just one entry into the teen film festival, from local filmmaker and Surry County Early College High School of Design student Lauren Henderson, who will be attending North Carolina School of the Arts for filmmaking in the fall of this year.
Henderson is a super senior (a fifth-year senior) at the early college, and this is her second year creating a short film for the festival. She attended the event at the library along with her parents and friend Hunter Bowers, who also is a super senior at the early college. Bowers starred in Henderson’s film, playing a doctor.
Henderson said the main influence for pursing film as a career was because she was “always a very visual person who had an appreciation for art,” who became inspired when she completed her Senior Graduation Project at the early college, which is when she directed her first music video.
“I instantly knew the day I started working on it that filmmaking was my destiny. The idea that I found a medium where I could merge vision and artwork together as one was what I had always been searching for.”
She said her plan is to pursue directing and editing and she is looking forward to expanding her education at the school of the arts. Directors who inspire and influence her include David O. Russell, Jared Leto, and Jaco Van Dormael. Her favorite films are “Mr. Nobody,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.”
Henderson received help again this year from friend Cole Gentry, who also stars in the film, but in a unique way since he is in college at Antioch College in Ohio. Henderson said she wanted to use Gentry again this year, but had to be creative and choose a film to replicate based on Gentry’s limited ability to star in the short film, through audio voice-overs and video chat.
The film she chose for inspiration was “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
“We wanted to focus it in part because we could involve a long-distance relationship that went wrong…it took us a long time to decide how to define a classic film, but in the end we decided it was a film that leaves an impact and stays with you,” Henderson shared.
“I watched ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ for the first time about a year ago and it really stuck with me. We had to figure out how to do the take on a long-distance relationship, so I asked Gentry to do an audio recording for different parts of the film, and I filmed our video chats as well.”
Henderson said she uses iMovie for all her film editing, since she has an iMac computer. She uses a DSL-R Nikkon 3500 for the filming.
The short film starred Henderson, Gentry, Bowers, Paige Hunter, and Randy Sprinkle.
The film began with Henderson’s character Clementine receiving a package from a doctor’s office, informing her that her patient files had been released. Through the course of the film, through investigating the contents of the package which included artifacts and video, Henderson discovers that she visited a doctor to remove part of her memory, involving a long-distance relationship gone wrong, with Gentry’s character Joel Barish.
The two characters had an online-only relationship and Henderson’s memories began to come back through the short film, such as video chats with Barish, filmed long-distance with Gentry.
Numerous shots and filming techniques were used by Henderson, to replicate the feel and look of the “Eternal Sunshine” movie.
As the memories come back, Clementine realizes she made a mistake in erasing Barish from her memory, and in the end, the two characters are reunited on top of Pilot Mountain, with the film shots through the eyes of Gentry’s character, since he could not be there in person.
Henderson said her next project is a video contest for the band AFI, which she is doing with a friend.
Michael and Rebecca Henderson said they were “very proud” of their daughter, and wanted to support her in her pursuit of filmmaking.
The library celebrates Teen Tech Week every year, which is a nationwide initiative through the Young Adult Library Services Association. The theme this year was “DIY @ Your Library.” Other activities included a Teen Craft Class on Wednesday, which 11 teenagers attended. Llewellyn said they made necklace pendants using images stamped onto corks, and they also pre-painted canvases that were used for Thursday’s Teen Art Class.
Reach Jessica Johnson at 719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.