On Oct. 24, teams of junior high students will flood the Black Family Visual Arts Center’s Lowe Theater. Some may be costumed and some may be dressed with the red carpet in mind, but all will head to the showing of the short horror movies created for the Halloween-o-thon competition.
Community Access Television in White River Junction has been putting this competition on for a few years, Dartmouth Film Society director Johanna Evans ’10 said.
The Hop has a community outreach initiative that focuses on increasing arts access for teens, Evans said. Due to this initiative, the Hop staff partnered with CATV to facilitate this movie festival.
In previous years, the festival has featured screenings, but never in a full-scale movie theater, Evans said. The festival features short horror films, each about five minutes or less., and started in the beginning of October, when the teams had to register. The deadline for submissions was this past Friday.
“They have some constraints because there’s a prompt,” Evans said. “Last year’s prompt we came up with, which was ‘Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.’ The prompt this year is ‘I know how this ends’… That line has to appear somewhere in the film.”
There will be two showings this year. On Oct. 29, junior high teams will screen their movies. The following night will showcase the high school and adult teams. Each show has about 15 teams total, with team sizes ranging from four to seven people. The audience consists mainly of team members and their guests, Evans said.
It is a great opportunity for students who have participated in the CATV’s summer programs to “keep their momentum going,” she said. The summer programs familiarize students with the basics of filmmaking, but do not provide a specific look at horror techniques, Evan said.
“The thing that we were looking to add to what CATV was already doing was the really great theater, but also Dartmouth students who could maybe help some of the younger filmmakers refine basics like recording sound that isn’t scratchy and getting lighting right and camera angles and acting for the camera,” Evans said. “The Dartmouth students were able to offer some tips on the basics, but this year they put a lot of effort into making their workshops horror-specific.”
Students lead workshops on cinematography, screenwriting and sound editing, co-president of Dartmouth Television Lauren Peterson ’16 said.
Peterson got involved after Evans reached out to DTV, eventually leading a workshop on cinematography.
“My section was all about developing cinematography and a style in cinematography,” she said.
Matthew Goldstein ’18 was one of the workshop leaders.
“I was contacted by Johanna Evans, who had heard that I was interested in film, and she asked me whether I’d like to teach one segment of the seminar,” Goldstein said. “I ended up teaching the film sound segment.”
This year, some of the Dartmouth students leading the workshop entered a film of their own.
“It’s great that the Dartmouth students have this opportunity to make a film and submit it to the competition,” Evans said.
The students also got to see others fall in love with filmmaking, which was an inspiring feeling, Goldstein said.
“It was awesome to see the dedication that all of the students had to their films. Any industry survives on the continuing infatuation of its adherents, creative fields especially. And seeing how excited these kids were to get their work out there and onto the screen was a motivating experience for me, too,” he said.
Peterson also enjoyed working with the kids and sharing her knowledge with them.
“It was really fun to share one of passions with these kids,” she said. “It was really great to share what I’ve been learning at Dartmouth with these kids.”
The competition now involves almost 150 participants, Evans said. The partnership has increased the visibility of the contest, and the exposure from the screening provides a bonus incentive to participate in addition to the possibility of a cash prize.
Goldstein is a member of The Dartmouth opinion staff.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction.
Correction appended: October 21, 2015
The original version of this article listed the screening date as Oct. 29. This information, however, was from the previous year's event, and this year's films will be shown on Oct. 24.