By Kate Mykhaylova, visuals editor

As the audience in the Elk Grove auditorium drum rolled, awaiting the winner of the 2016 CinéStudent Film Festival (CSFF), Riley DeLuca was sitting in the audience seats of the theater, waiting with excitement and nervousness at the same time.

13 students from District 214 participated in the festival this year. Sophomore Claire Strother, junior Riley DeLuca, junior Rhegan Graham and senior Garrett Strother competed from Prospect.

2016 awards were given in the following categories: Best Performance, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Documentary, Best Film and Audience Choice Award. The winner also gets to go to a filmmaking workshop sponsored by Tribeca Flashpoint College. This is worth $900 and was given to the filmmaker who won Best Film. All the participants who attended got a T-shirt from the festival.

Students’ films were judged based on several criteria: story, cinematography, sound, editing and overall impact of the film.

Elk Grove film club sponsor, Bruce Janu, was directing the festival this year.


The films were judged by a panel of experts:
Eric Anderson and Amelia Dellos, two partners who are also founders and directors of Corn Bred Films. Also John Bottiglieri, who taught film study at Elk Grove and also writes weekly columns and records podcasts. Ross Rowe, a Cable Production Coordinator at EGTV Channel 6. Ralph Scalise, EG Italian and World History teacher as well as an Associate Producer and travels the globe.

“Movies are my main aspect of life,” DeLuca said. “I love watching them, reviewing them, and I just figured this would be a great opportunity to make a movie that would get some publicity.”

His film, “Al Barn’s Day in the High School Commons,” is a narrative fiction about a boy who makes a bad movie and his friends explaining what’s wrong with it.

“It plays with the audience’s mind because it gives the opportunity to see characters that are saying exactly what [the audience] is saying,” DeLuca said.

A narrative film made by EGHS called “Samantha,” won the 2016 CinéStudent Film Festival, and Janu couldn’t be any happier. Prospect sophomore Claire Strother won the documentary category with her School of Rock film.

Elk Grove didn’t win anything last year, so it was nice to have a really strong film this year,” Janu said. “But, of course, Prospect won again in a big category and so did Fremd.”

Unlike the film festivals during previous years, participants are able to receive feedback on their films.

“This was different and each filmmaker got both positive and negative comments on their films,” Janu said. “I like to see CSFF as a learning experience, so I hope the filmmakers don’t take the critiques too personally.”

Even though DeLuca didn’t win in any category, he enjoyed his experience at the film festival.

“We had fun doing it,” DeLuca said. “So as long as you have fun, that’s what really matters.”