After a year’s worth of work, FX students are showcasing their films at the 2022 Film Fest


Sofia Hargis-Acevedo

All of the Film Fest posters for this year’s event.

Senior Jack McNamara was put in one of the smallest groups for the 2022 FHC Film Festival on May 5th. This year, his group consists of two other people: seniors Ryan Fitzgerald and Ivan Wheland.

While most groups ranged from four to five members, he only had two partners. Together, they encountered more challenges than most other groups since they didn’t have as many hands on deck.

“People can hold the boom pole [to] film audio and stuff,” Jack said. “So we had to get really creative with our audio because we only had three guys: one guy on the camera, [and the other] guys are acting and stuff. So, we had to place mics in places to try to hide them.”

Though Jack’s group may have had fewer people, they were still able to come up with an enticing short film, Gumshoe Affair. In this film, two high school students, who write for The Trend of Central Times, are trying to uncover the mystery of who’s behind the homework monopoly at their school. Jack describes the film genre as the “fletch” and “pulp fiction” of the eighties. 

Another hardship that the group encountered was timing. Since there were others starring in the film, they had to work around their schedules to film specific scenes. Even when the group was in a time crunch, Jack was very satisfied with their work ethic and dedication to Gumshoe Affair.

“We had a few moments where we got on each other’s throats just because it gets kind of stressful,” Jack said, “but I’m really happy with my teammates. We worked really well together, and I think we didn’t really procrastinate—that’s a big thing. Some groups get to the end, and [Media Comm. teacher Jeff Manders] is like, ‘I told you, you [had] all this time,’ but thankfully, we had guys that would come in during lunch, before school, or after school working on it, editing, and putting in their two cents. We just worked out really well. I was really lucky to have good teammates.”

Because of the comradery that Jack had with his two members, they were able to create an amazing film that everyone who watches will enjoy. Jack encourages people who are attending the FHC Film Fest tonight to watch short films such as Capture The Flag and Why Her? But like any other group would say, Jack would truly appreciate it if people would watch Gumshoe Affair so that everyone can witness the hard work and long hours that he and his group teammates put into the film to make it as entertaining as possible.

We had this idea, and then we actually made it into a reality, and [now] we can show this to people and not be embarrassed.

— Brooklyn Conner

“[Gumshoe Affair is] going to be the best film out there,” Jack said. “Our plot structure is really well done. I was a little nervous because it’s not confusing, but there are a lot of details in a way. But watching it back, it does flow really well, and it’s long, but it’s probably one of the better plot structures, and it’s entertaining. You could see us being kind of funny out there, and it’s just overall a great film, and I think there’s a lot of great films out there this year.”

Much like Jack’s group, senior Brooklyn Conner’s group also had to work around their busy schedules. 

Brooklyn worked with seniors Bella Beckering, Abby Drueke, and Alexa Parent to create their film, Reflection: a story about a foreign exchange student with a secret. Since they all have busy schedules, it was difficult for them to coordinate with one another while shooting scenes, especially since they had some people in the film that were outside of their group. However, after almost a year of preparation and obstacles, Reflection was finally coming together.

“The last couple of weeks, we’ve been editing and putting everything together to make sure that it looks clean and that all of our clips fit in,” Brooklyn said. “We’ve been having to refilm things [to] make sure everything looks good. Some difficulties definitely were getting everyone together to make sure we could get the filming done, which was probably the hardest part of everything, just because some scenes required us to go to the airport. Some scenes required us to be at [senior Emily Smith’s] house. We just had to make sure we had our actors there, who all have busy schedules, so it’s pretty hard to make sure that everyone can be there and we have someone to film and have all the equipment there.”

Brooklyn’s group began working on their screenplay around November, which counted as their final exam for first semester. Beginning in January was the laborious task of actually putting together the puzzle pieces of Reflection and watching it all come together right in front of their eyes.

One of the best feelings for Brooklyn was when she and her groupmates were finally finished, and a wave of fulfillment and contentment washed over them.

“We’ve been working on [Reflection] for so long,” Brooklyn said. “We had this idea, and then we actually made it into a reality, and [now] we can show this to people and not be embarrassed.”

All the groups showing their film at Film Fest Have been under constant stress of meeting their deadline. Their teacher, Mr. Manders, has watched as they have been putting in strenuous work to add necessary details and refinements, ensuring that their short films are perfect for today.

“Friday, [April 29], is the hard deadline,” Manders said. “If I don’t have them, they don’t get to be in the festival. So, there’s a lot of pressure right now—there’s a lot of stress. I had kids show up at 6:00 p.m. this morning. I had to kick them all out of here at like 4:15 p.m. last night. I have kids at lunch showing up during my other classes. I mean, this is really crunch time right now, but it’s great. It’s just kind of that, especially for the seniors. This is the last big hoorah for kids who’ve been in FX for maybe two, three years.”

Because of COVID-19, last year’s Film Fest had a more open format so students could maintain social distancing. This year, Manders is going back to its original layout. Instead of showing films in the cafeteria, gym, and library, they will be in rooms such as the Lecture Hall and other classrooms.

Film Fest has been around since before Manders was a teacher at FHC. He kept the tradition alive because not only did the students love it, it presented the opportunity to take their creativity to a whole other level and show off their skill sets to their peers.

“Film projects are fun—they’re entertaining,” Manders said. “They allow [students] to explore some of their interests, their creativity, [and to] have some fun with these stories as opposed to their newsy stories.”