Best Experimental Film

Three Grace students, Kit Keenan '17, Stella Gatti '17 and Zoe Pratt '17, won Best Experimental Video for their film, "GIRL$" at the New York Alliance Film Festival, New York’s  first annual independent school film festival. The film was the top rated submission of 75 films from 30 schools and was screened at AMC Empire 25, followed by the award presented by Nick Ravich of PBS Series ART21. 

Junior Olive Brecht, a reporter for the high school division's newspaper the Grace Gazette, interviewed the budding filmmakers. Their conversation is below.

What was the project that prompted this movie?
We weren’t really given any criteria to make this film. Since we kind of pioneered the advanced video production class, we were given a lot of freedom to come up with our own projects.

What was your inspiration for your movie?
We’re all really big fans of A$ap Rocky, and a lot of his music videos are very “trippy” and glamorous, which was a source of inspiration for us. I’m really interested in rap culture and the obsession with wealth and luxury, so I think that was a big theme in our film.

What was your process for creating your movie?
First Mr. McDonald taught us the technological elements of making films such as how to use a camera, set up equipment, edit with Final Cut Pro, etc. From there we came up with a plot that we all fell in love with, and then we made a storyboard. We had to get a lot of props in advance, and then we spent a whole day shooting the film.

 
Does winning this festival make you more interested in pursuing film? Were you already interested in pursuing film?
I have always thought that filmmaking is really cool, and have been studying to become a screenwriter for a while. What I love about experimental filmmaking is that it makes me feel like an artist. It is all really visual and abstract and filled with hidden messages. I have definitely fallen in love with all the many aspects of filmmaking, whether its screenwriting, directing, or cinematography, and I hope to purse it as a career. Especially since there are so few women in the filmmaking industry, I want to be a pioneer for women filmmakers.

What does it feel like to be honored?
We didn’t really expect to win. When we entered we were pretty much just thinking “Why not?,” but I’m really glad that we did. Winning this award has made me really confident in myself and my team as filmmakers, and I feel that this accomplishment will pave the way for some big things in the future.
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