2011 DLFF Update

Festival Update


Alamogordo German School Takes Best of Festival Prize at Desert Light Film Festival
Friday, April 29, 2011
Alamogordo, New Mexico

Desert Light Film Festival brought over 140 film students and teachers together on the NMSU Alamogordo campus on Friday, April 29. “This is a special film festival designed for high school and middle school students,” said Joan Griggs festival director for Desert Light. “We limit the competition to students from New Mexico. This year was another fantastic festival with new schools participating.

Students from the Alamogordo German School were surprised by the judges who awarded them the Best of Festival award. Even though this school entered Desert Light Film Festival for the first time this year, they walked away with the First Place awards in Animation and Music Video, two of the most competitive categories, as well as the Best of Festival award. The Pro-Tech division at NMSUA, under the direction of Bryan Yancey, presented the team of filmmakers with an IPOD and with a movie poster designed by James Scharmack. This movie theater size poster portrays a scene from their winning music video entry titled “There Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” Students, including producer David Thees, beamed as they collected their awards on stage and as they viewed their video, shown during the Awards Ceremony.

“We are proud to have JC Penney Company Fund, Inc as our official corporate sponsor, and we especially appreciate our new local Penneys manager Alan Mendoza,” Griggs said. “Penneys makes it possible to produce this festival and to give out cash prizes that in turn help students fund their filmmaking. We had 112 films competing this year. The films were submitted from schools including Alamogordo High School, Alamogordo German School, Mayfield High School, Sierra Middle School and the Albuquerque based Public Academy for the Performing Arts and DATA Charter School. Two new middle schools participating included Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces and Mountain View Middle School in Alamogordo.”

Dr. Phil Lewis, Creative Media Institute Director at New Mexico State University, opened his morning seminar by showing clips from various Experimental Films. Students learned about combining media, and what makes an abstract film. He entertained and answered questions about this new category. He also served as judge for Experimental Film. The Alamogordo Optimist Club provided funding for prizes in this new category. The First Prize Award for Experimental Film at the high school level went to Taylor Roundtree, Jocelyn Rose, and Sierra Anaya from Alamogordo High School for their film, “Perception.” John Cowart represented the Optimist Club and presented them with the $100 prize.

Students also participated in other seminars, including Special Effects Makeup for Film, Final Cut Pro editing program and Maya Animation. NMSU Alamogordo instructors included Connie Breding, Sara Irving, and James Scharmack. Ranger Kathy Denton, White Sands National Monument, provided a new seminar on filming at White Sands, and Bill McCamey taught a seminar called “Pyrotechnic Special Effects.”

The Awards Ceremony Friday afternoon was preceded by a reception in the new NMSUA Art Gallery and lobby. “The Cloudcroft Light Opera Company was proud to sponsor the reception this year,” said Otero County Film Liaison and festival co-director Jan Wafful. “CLOC looks for ways to support youth in the community and this year they found the funds to sponsor this film education event.”

Felix Wolters from the Alamogordo German School won First Place in Animation for his film “A Different Pinocchio.” In addition to the $100 prize from JC Penneys, Sony Pictures Imageworks has awarded a very special prize: a trip to their studios in Albuquerque to observe and job shadow their animators plus an invitation to join their animators for the official Green Lantern VFX Wrap Party and crew screening of “Green Lantern,” a blockbuster movie which will release this June.

Alan Mendoza was on stage during the Awards Ceremony to present the Penneys award checks. Documentaries about two local landmarks were winners this year. Honorable Mention went to Hunter Niffenegger for his documentary about the apple industry in Mountain Park and “The Apple Barn.” First Prize went to Parker Thomas, Tim Anderson and Ray Payne for their documentary “The Haunting at 1309,” which detailed the history of the original hospital in Alamogordo. Kaylie Carlson from Alamogordo won First Place in High School Tourism Commercial, judged by the Alamogordo Promotion Board. Cameron McCloud, Rylee Agulto, and Joshua Jarrell won Honorable Mention for their music video, “Smile.”

Desert Light Film Festival is a project which is directed by NMSU Alamogordo and the Otero County Film Office, a division of the Otero County Economic Development Council, and supported by a committee which includes, Jan Wafful, Joan Griggs, Jesse Casto, Bryan Yancey, Bruce Martin, Ranger Rebecca Wiles, Christa Haynes and Mike Espiritu. For more pictures, log on to www.filmotero.com . Local businesses which supported this festival include JC Penney, Desert Sun Motors, CLOC, WalMart, Lowes CLOC and the Alamogordo Optimist Club. Many thanks go to the NMSUA staff and to all those who helped judge the films.

Festival Directors
Joan Griggs, Coordinator of Community Services, NMSU Alamogordo
Jan Wafful, Otero County Film Liaison

Desert Light 2011 getting posters John Cowart presents 1st place High School Film Award
Six teachers Alan Mendoza and Felix Wolters