West Bloomfield Student Film Festival to Feature Local Pros, Teen Stars

The annual event Friday at West Bloomfield High School features workshops, awards and public screenings in the evening.

More than 10 film and TV professionals will speak to film students from around Metro Detroit this Friday at the 10th annual Orchard Lake Student Film Festival at West Bloomfield High School.

Over 30 films by high school students are entered in the festival, a daylong event with workshops, prizes and evening screenings for the public. Entrants will gather at the high school all day and attend screenings for all of the films in two categories: public service announcements (up to three minutes) and dramatic, suspense, comedy or docu-drama shorts (five to 20 minutes).

"It's a great way for students to meet one another, network and share ideas," said Micah Greene, theater arts program director at the school, who helped create the event as the West Bloomfield Film Festival in 2003.

It was renamed and opened to other schools in 2009. Outside entries this time are from high schools in Romeo, Walled Lake, Livonia, Lake Orion, L'Anse Creuse, Grosse Pointe and elsewhere. 

A panel of judges including former video production director Kevin Walsh will share comments and later select award recipients, including a grand prize $2,500 scholarship to the Troy-based Motion Picture Institute.

Parents, relatives, neighbors and cinema buffs can attend an encore presentation at a $5 evening showcase, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the school on 4925 Orchard Lake Rd.

It's an education event, so there's a limit on boldness. That means no raunchiness that might be more common to YouTube, though "school appropriate" is defined as equivalent to a PG rating ("some material may not be suitable for children").   

The list of speakers for students includes:

  • Daniel Phillips, who'll kick off the day with a keynote address, is a St. Clair Shores-based makeup and special effects designer who studied with Oscar-winning effects and makeup artist Dick Smith.
  • Harry Akers, of Rochester Hills, who has worked as a lighting director/gaffer since 1978 and includes Super Bowl XL among credits
  • Ric Viers, of Macomb, a sound designer/sound effects producer and author who founded an all-HD sound effects publishing company.
  • Scott Kodrik, a screenwriter, director and owner of a special effects company in Redford.
  • Courtney Zimmer of Orchard Lake, a Class of '08 graduate. Zimmer, an actress, has appeared in a Chevrolet commercial as well as a commercial for Oakland University.

For more information, visit the event website at OrchardLakeFilmFest.com.


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