By Eileen Drennen
It’s still too early to say much about the entries for The Lovett School’s first film festival, which will screen short films from around the world at the school on April 30.
But what organizer David Silverman can tell you about the works he’s seen so far is they’re ambitious, clever and focus on a wide range of subjects.
The Lovett film and theater teacher extended the deadline for submissions until April 7, which will make his own life in those final weeks leading up to the fest even more hectic.
He’s determined to see as many films made by teens as he can because he believes filmmakers between 13 and 19 have a lot to say and need more places in which to say it.
“The Atlanta Film Fest had a teen category when I started at Lovett,” Silverman says, “but they phased it out. I started the Lovett film fest because I felt like there was a niche there that was underserved.”
Not only in the Lovett community, he adds, but all over the world. His goal for the fest is pretty simple: “to encourage kids to make films and give them a place to screen them.”
Seven prizes will be awarded – best narrative short, documentary short and video, in both U.S. and international categories. There will also be an overall best of show. Silverman says he’s already seen 150 entries, and more come every week. Only 20 of the film shorts, which can range from two to 15 minutes, will make the final cut.
Silverman isn’t just an energetic teacher of acting and screenwriting at Lovett, he’s a busy filmmaker and longtime Atlanta actor himself. With wife Kelly Young-Silverman, he presides over a company called Cakebaby Productions, which has produced three short films – “The Tedious Existence of Terrell B. Howell,” which was screened at last year’s Atlanta Film Festival and the Macon Film Festival; and “Pony Rides Are for Girls” and “My Good Fortune,” which will make the festival circuit this year. Next up on the Silverman’s busy agenda? This summer, they’re planning to shoot a feature film called “Smarty Pants,” about a young home-schooled kid who dreams of becoming a quiz kid.
It was knowing about filmmaking from the inside that helped Silverman conceive of Lovett’s fest as something bigger than just a local event.
“My decision to make it international was based on my experience as a filmmaker touring with my films at festivals,” Silverman said, “knowing how exciting it is to see films from all over the world, and to see [your own work] screen with films from other places. I would love it if this were a chance for kids to connect, from all over the world.”
If you consider that a group of five or six kids are typically attached to each film project, Silverman says, this first Lovett film fest could have a huge effect on the lives of more than 100 kids – and their families.
Including senior Evan Harms, who’s doing all of the work himself, from screenwriting to filming, directing and editing. That way, Harms said, he can figure out what parts of the process he likes best.
The First Annual Lovett School High School Film Fest is scheduled April 30, in the school’s Hendrix-Chenault Theater.