Student filmmakers are off to Hollywood

LIHU’E — Part of a weeklong trip to California will involve students working on projects onsite.

Kevin Matsunaga, instructor for the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School media production class, said that, while attending a convention in the Disneyland Hotel, students will have to work on projects as part of the convention.

Sixteen students, six parent chaperones, and Matsunaga left Monday night for the convention that starts Thursday.

Matsunaga explained that, before the convention starts, the group will be making their own visits to places like Warner Bros. studios, as well as a new music show on Direct TV Network.

The Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School video-production students will be joining students from other schools from Hawai’i, including Maui High School, Moanalua High School, and Wai’anae High School, Matsunaga said.

“Working It Out,” a video production by Wai’anae students Ito Fualaau, Katie Hoppe, and Cherell Keamo, is one of a dozen film selections that the Kaua’i students will be able to view during special screenings on Friday at the Student Television Network (STN) convention.

Students at Wai’anae High School are the only Hawai’i students to be have advanced to the point where their film will be aired. Wai’anae students are also among the Sports Feature Challenge finalists, as well as a finalist in the News Feature Challenge.

Maui High School students are finalists in the News Feature Challenge.

Matsunaga said that to be able to attain that level was difficult because members of the student crews only had a limited amount of time to come up with final versions of their efforts after receiving their assignments.

“The judges were so impressed with the entries,” said Jim Ellenberger, the broadcast teacher at Perry High School in Iowa, and one of the coordinators for the STN Fall Nationals.

Ellenberger said there were 325 entries in 16 high-school and three middle-school categories for the fifth year of the STN Fall Nationals.

Additionally, over 70 students from 11 states submitted audition tapes for an opportunity to be presenters at the STN Convention. From this field, students from nine states were selected as presenters.

Matsunaga said students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School media production class earned awards from this competition as well.

“We placed three videos in the top two categories in the middle-school division,” he said. “A PSA (public-service announcement) on drunk driving won first place, and another PSA on smoking took home second place. We also placed second for a video our students did on the Japanese shrines on Kaua’i.”

Matsunaga said that, because this is a national contest, the students’ achievements were an honor.

Amanda Bailey was the producer for the award-winning PSA on drunk driving.

Cory Oride, Matthew Osorno, and Randee Layosa formed the team that fielded the video on smoking.

Layosa, who is one of the 16 students making this trip, was the producer for the video on Japanese shrines.

Matsunaga said, “We’re taking with us some goodies from Kauai Kookies and the Kauai Coffee Company as well as some promotional items from the county’s Office of Economic Development and the film commissioner. We hope to be ambassadors of Kaua’i, and the Kaua’i Film Commission while we are there, handing out all of these goodies to the places we visit, and to the other students and teachers at the convention.”

Matsunaga and company return to Kaua’i Monday.

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