Film Festival Highlights Student Cinematic Talent

Move over Cannes. The Masters Film Festival took the school community by storm on May 26 at the Claudia Boettcher Theatre and opened to rave reviews.

Associate Head of School for Faculty and Academics Sam Savage called the event “an outstanding example of student-centered curriculum and programming and a real triumph for the media arts at Masters.”

Open to all Masters students, the 90-minute festival had nearly 40 upper school students taking part as writers, directors, actors and crew members. Most of the 25 short films were produced for classes, including Foundations in Video Production and Intermediate Video Production, under the guidance of media arts teacher David Becker. Twenty interstitial videos were also created by students and shown as transitions between films. Students were resourceful and incorporated faculty, family members and shots around campus and town into their movies.

“We have a lot of talented filmmakers at Masters,” Becker said. “It’s exciting to see their work continue to expand and improve.”

“There was something for everyone: documentary, comedy, pensive drama, suspense,” said Cheryl Hajjar, chair of the Visual Arts Department. 

Aspiring filmmaker Giselle Meskin ’23 submitted two films: "Duality of Self," which in conversation with Ava Bashew ’23, explores the detachment and reconnection between the good and the bad parts of ourselves; and “The Hotgirl Hotline” a “Charlie's Angels”-inspired feminist comedy.

“Watching these little ideas that I once had in my head on the big screen of the CBT was truly a surreal experience,” Meskin said. “What I really enjoyed was the support that I felt from the audience and that finally, students who are passionate about visual arts could display their hard work to a live audience.”

Becker, a former filmmaker, was encouraged to showcase the creative work of his students. “I’m so glad we did because the turnout was great and it was a lot of fun to watch the films together.”

“The sheer volume of work to celebrate was impressive, and students in the audience lifted up and appreciated their peers with rousing applause after each segment,” Savage added. “All told, the event was fun and inspiring. It set the bar high for years to come.”