Taking place May 17 in the school’s Parker Auditorium, the festival will screen eight to 12 student films all vying for recognition in several categories, including Best Overall, Most Creative, Audience Award and Technical Award. Prizes include GoPro cameras, cash, trophies and more.
Festival director Matt Twohig said entries must adhere to certain guidelines. All films must be 10 minutes or shorter in length and, to give filmmakers a common symbol to tie submissions together, each film must include at least one brown paper bag. Twohig, a senior bound for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, said finding the right object to incorporate in every film was a tricky task.
“We were toying with the idea of using a hammer for a short while, but discarded it because we were worried there wouldn’t be much diversity among the films,” Twohig said. “One afternoon my father and I were literally looking around the house for the most random item we could find. I’ll admit, when he pointed to the paper bag on the kitchen counter I instantly shot the idea down. Then he ripped two holes for eyes and put it over his head, and I knew we had found our item.”
Twohig said the purpose for requiring that films incorporate the use of a central symbol is twofold.
“On an administrative level, it ensures that films are produced within the time frame we give,” he said. “Creatively, it provides a challenge for the filmmakers. It also gives the audience something to look for. I noticed last year that the film festival audience paid very close attention to how each filmmaker incorporated the item into their story.”
The bag, Twohig said, need not be a central feature or even play a large role in the films, but filmmakers “should have to put serious consideration into how they incorporate the brown paper bag.” Just how seriously filmmakers took that recommendation could reap real rewards: there’s a prize category titled Best Use of the Brown Paper Bag.
Though the school offers a video production class, Twohig said the majority of submissions have come from students not enrolled in the class, making for greater diversity in the films. Meanwhile, the loose guidelines have further assured that no two films are alike — in fact, submissions range from music videos and comedies to documentaries, dramas and more.
“Some have very serious underlying messages and some take a much lighter approach,” Twohig said.
The La Jolla High School Film Festival will take place on May 17 at 7 p.m. at Parker Auditorium, 750 Nautilus St. Sponsors of this year’s event include GoPro, Ezekiel and Bird Rock Surf Shop. For up-to-date information, visit www.facebook.com/LJHSFilmFest.