Byron Center High School students Tyler Clifton and Aspen Comar know their way around a film studio. The young directors get the right camera angle, capture expressions, showcase scenery and share stories and messages through video.
They recently shot videos featuring siblings and friend to get students thinking about real-life issues. Tyler’s piece titled “Never Forget Who You Are,” encourages people to stay true to themselves and not conform to fit in. Aspen’s public service announcement, titled “Don’t Bully,” encourages students to be kind to one and other.
The students, both involved in film-making classes since ninth grade. The pair are Best of Show winners in the Michigan Student Film and Video Festival, the longest running event for Digital Arts, Film and Television, a non-profit founded in 1969.
They will be honored along with other winners at a “Student Oscars” at the Detroit Theater located in the Detroit Institute of Arts April 27. They are in the running for several prizes including scholarships.
Childhood dreams and lighting the flame
Tyler’s film shows a child growing into an adult and thinking about what his dreams were as a child. He ends it with the quote “Children findeverything in nothing. Men find nothing in everything.
“I wanted something everyone could connect with: the journey from child to adult and feeling the need to conform,” said Tyler, 17 and a junior, who plans to pursue a film major.
Aspen’s film, a 30-second public service announcement, shows girls in school holding candles which are distinguished when someone insults them. However, when girls compliment each other they unite their candles and the flames grow. “Light each other’s flame. Stop bullying,” is the message.
Aspen, 18 and a senior, will attend Louisiana State University next fall to pursue a film major. Their films were among 20 awarded Best of Show honors.
Julie Heise-VanderLaan, audio visual instructor and BCTV station manager, said the students are continuing a long history of student success in film-making at the high school. Students have the opportunity to enter many competitions each year. Tyler also won a Gold Key Award for his video book trailer on the novel “The Plot Against America” in the Scholastic Art Festival.