Lights, Camera, Action!

Long Island High School for the Arts Film Festival
Some members of the filmmaking program at Long Island High School for the Arts gathered for a photo before the showing of their films. From left were Joshua Levenstein (Roslyn UFSD), Brandyn Royere and Matthew Verni (Locust Valley CSD); Emily Schaubeck (Garden City UFSD), and LIHSA Filmmaking Instructor Anthony Petrucci.

Students at Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts Filmmaking Program got the chance to showcase their original productions recently at the school’s annual Film Festival.

Family, faculty and fellow students applauded at the diverse and imaginative films, written, produced and acted by the students. Featured were Cassandra Jones, by Anna Manae Romano, Half Hollow Hills CSD; At the Table, by Brandyn Royere, Locust Valley CSD; As Good as it Gets, by Matthew Verni, Locust Valley CSD; King, by Joshua Levenstein, Roslyn UFSD; and Jellyfish, by Emily Schaubeck, Garden City UFSD. The evening ended with an entertaining, informative and sometimes humorous behind-the-scenes look in Memory Montage, depicting the process and trials of filming scenes in and around the school. The students held a question-and-answer period after the film presentation.

“Our annual film festival was a great success, but I view it as only the tip of the iceberg,” said LIHSA instructor Anthony Petrucci. “I don’t focus our year on this one night; I focus on the process of individual evolution in each student, which will continue long after they graduate.”

Petrucci went on to say that he’s very proud of his students in that they’ve accepted his challenge to fulfill multiple complex artistic disciplines, and they’ve done so with complete originality through every step of the filmmaking process.

“This is unique at the high school level,” Petrucci said. “That is, they each write their own screenplay from scratch, transform the screenplay into shooting instructions and design elements, cast their roles, direct their actors and crew, operate the camera as their own cinematographer and edit the footage into something impactful and lasting. It’s a deeply difficult art form that requires intellectual and emotional stamina along with great imagination and willingness to take creative risks. My students, I think, have shown tonight that they are far along in their evolution.”

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