The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


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SCN Film Festival celebrates the creativity of student films

Evie Wada
Shot from JT Dorn’s untitled short film.

With the help of lights, camera, action and a little bit of imagination, North students filmed and wrote short films for the SCN Film Festival. By employing a variety of mediums, from live-action to animation and even stop-motion, they managed to create unique, engaging motion pictures that left me constantly anticipating what surprise was to come next.

Taking place May 1 in North’s auditorium, the SCN Film Festival showed 21 short films made by students from Film Club, film classes and other areas of North. Considering that the festival is also a competition, judges Nick Smith — writer and director of the local movie “Munger Road” — and Brian Ferguson — an animator who worked on many Disney films including “Beauty and the Beast” — chose winners for several categories.

Senior Kenny Vuong won first place in Animation, senior JT Dorn won first in Cinematography, junior Matthew Spizzirri won first in Narrative Film and freshman Evie Wada won first in Motion Design.

A standout among the evening’s short films was Spizzirri’s “Solitary,” as it combines realistic humor with genuine messages about friendship. The repetitive shots of Mark — the main character — showing up at his office and tossing his bag aside excellently conveys the dull nature of everyday life. Coincidentally, Doug keeps appearing everywhere he goes, and while Mark finds him incredibly annoying at first, the pair grow a special bond by the end. Using Doug as both comedic relief and a vessel for change elevates the story to feel more organic in its overall meaning: allowing new people a chance to enter our lives.

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Dorn’s several untitled short films, however, focus almost entirely on gorgeous cinematography. In one particular film, the exterior of a home and the surrounding vegetation have a cool-toned look to them of primarily greens, grays and blues; a light mist even floats in the corners of the shot. As the camera eventually shows the house’s window, though, warm tones of oranges glisten against the background, and blurs of people move around inside. This strong color contrast formulates a cozy atmosphere that pulls the eye forward and makes me want to curl up in there so badly.

Wada’s “Cherry Bomb” takes a much different approach compared to many of the other short films; lyrics to “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways pop up on screen as the same 1976 song plays in the background. The bold fonts and bright graphic design truly capture the early punk-esque sound of the music. “Cherry Bomb” — similar to other Joan Jett songs like “I Love Rock ’N Roll” — embodies an in-your-face style of hard rock that is anything but lost in this short film.

Another unique animation technique can be observed in Vuong’s “Genesis.” Everything is drawn by hand, and each frame moves slowly by, lingering for a few moments to take all the visuals in. A robot and snake travel together through a sci-fi city, and a soft ringing further cements this ambiance similar to that of a dream. The film dabbles in the surreal as a result, bringing the viewer to hunger for more of this short yet intriguing story. I also love this purposeful choice of combining nature with futuristic elements, as it creates a slightly uncanny sense and artsy flair.

The SCN Film Festival brought a wide selection of short films to the table, and I found many that appealed to me. Even the completely comedy-centric options such as sophomore Andrew Lomnicky’s “Peanut Butter vs Jelly” — a short film with a butter knife sword fight between bread slices — had my eyes glued forward. Students clearly put a lot of effort into their creations, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to watch and learn from them myself.

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About the Contributors
Melanie Jandura
Melanie Jandura, News Editor
Melanie is the News Editor for the Stargazer. She is a junior and has been on the staff since 2021. Melanie engages in student journalism because she wants others to know about different topics around the school and community.
Evie Wada
Evie Wada, Media Team
Evie Wada is a staff artist for the Stargazer. She is a Freshman and this is her first year on staff.

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