Generally, when you’re seeing red, you are not a happy camper.
But it should be a cause for celebration on Friday, June 6, 2014, when Morristown High School caps a week of fashion, art, jazz and academic pyrotechnics with its second annual student film festival. The theme: “Red.”
“The theme this year was very open and very creative. It best represents the innovation of high school students, and gives insights into what it’s like to be young and very creative,” said sophomore Kirsten Traudt, who has helped broadcasting teacher Mike Butler organize the festival.
Kirsten also is among the volunteers behind the sixth annual MHS Art & Design Week, from June 3-5. An estimated 3,000 student paintings, photos, sculptures and woodworking pieces will fill the auxiliary gym.
The eye-popping exhibition includes a fashion show at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, June 3; also look for a robot soccer demonstration.
On Wednesday, June 4, cardboard boat designers do battle in the MHS pool at 6 pm. Jazz Night celebrates its silver anniversary in the auditorium at 7 pm with a very special farewell to co-founder John Schumacher, who is retiring. (Stay tuned to MG for more about that.) Back in the auxiliary gym, Arts By the People hosts an art contest at 7:30 pm.
At 6 pm on Thursday, June 5, it’s Classics Academy Night. Eighteen upperclassmen will share projects that marry lessons from Antiquity with modern life.
One project examines the evolution of graffiti from ancient times; another traces the evolution of dolls. Michael Chase has written a song and planned a marketing campaign. Jessica Richardson, who has collaborated with two classmates to create a poetry book, also is coordinating the art show.
“It’s student work, but it’s student work of a high caliber,” said Jessica, a senior. At Boston University this fall, she plans to major in theater technology and photography because, she quipped, “I never want to have any money, ever.”
‘THEY UNDERSTAND THEIR LEGACY’
The massive art show is almost entirely run by students, according to MHS graphics teacher Jim Boothby. Photography teacher Brian Kievning suggested Jessica was too modest in describing her peers’ creations.
“If you give students professional tools, they can deliver professional results,” Brian said.
One of the gratifying aspects of the show, he said, is how students grasp that they are part of something larger. Case in point: Shannon Kikuchi, a former Classics Academy student now studying at the Parsons School of Design.
Shannon founded the MHS Fashion Club and started the annual fashion shows. She groomed student Asaki Takahashi to keep the fashion show going.
“These students are really dedicated. They understand their legacy,” Brian said.
STOP-MOTION FIRE TRUCKS
The school’s budding filmmakers are forging quite a legacy, too.
Students from MHS broadcasting and photography classes entered 38 videos, each under seven minutes long, containing some red element or reference.
Twenty videos will make the final cut, competing at 6 pm in the school
cafeteria media center for cameras and video gear–from an anonymous donor–and passes to the New York Film Critics series from host Mark Ehrenkranz, one of the judges. Robin Kampf of RJK Media and Paul Tsakos of Fox TV will round out the panel. Admission is free.
Categories range from documentaries, music videos and short films to animations, comedies, skits and public service announcements.
There are rap videos and murder thrillers. Fiona Mullen, a winner at last summer’s MorristownGreen.com Film Festival, has profiled a pro surfer. (Red=Passion!) Another entry plays off the red curtain at the school musical, Seussical.
“I think technically, they are better than last year,” said broadcasting teacher Mike Butler, a former director for CourtTV.
He cited a stop-motion animation of a red fire truck, a painstaking process that looks painless in his students’ hands.
The challenge, as always, is the words.
“Students need to develop the ability to tell a story,” the teacher said. “The ability to tell a story is the most important thing. Some of these are technically fantastic. But they may not win because the judges may think they did not tell the story.”
You can be the judge.
She is not competing this time, however. She has been too busy behind the scenes, putting together the school film fest and art show, and even pitching in last month at the Latin Club’s chariot races.
“I like helping people achieve their goals, and creating events that help people demonstrate their passion,” Kirsten said. “Administrative work is very important to the creative process.”