Local cinema offers showtime for students’ films

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 23, 2015


STERLING HEIGHTS — Attendees at a recent student film event saw some coming attractions — what could be the next generation of filmmaking talent in Hollywood, TV and more.

Utica Community Schools partnered with Emagine Entertainment on June 17 to display some students’ award-winning short films at the Emagine Macomb Theatre.

The event, titled “A Filmmaker’s Evening,” presented 39 works that were part of the 47th Michigan Student Film Festival held by the Digital Arts, Film & Television group April 25 in Detroit.

According to the school district, the DAFT award winners included students from Eisenhower High School, Shelby Junior High School and Henry Ford II High School.

Ford film teacher Joseph Elliott called the Emagine student film night “the first of its kind” and praised the concept for giving kids the chance to show their work.

“They’re all sorts of films,” he said. “There’s a variety of topics. There are public service announcements, music videos, a couple of documentary shorts, some general entertainment comedy. There are one or two claymations.”

Elliott also said the honorees include “a couple of experimental, serious filmmakers,” and he said the variety of film styles makes the evening a fun one.

“Kids can make a difference, and they have a lot of say, so we’re giving them a platform through film to do that,” he said.

Class of 2015 Ford graduate Aric Prebelich took home a filmmaking award for Senior Best of Show at the DAFT festival. Prebelich plans to attend the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan in Troy soon with a full scholarship.

Prebelich, 17, said he had seven short films ready for display at the theater event, and he said it’s an honor to be recognized by the community and the theater. One of the films, he said, was a Christmas special called “Ornaments” that captures holiday feelings from the perspective of tree ornaments.

“Going to the movies, pretty much as a kid I never thought I’d have any of my films on a big screen like that,” Prebelich said. “I never thought I’d pursue this as a career option.”

Prebelich said he is looking forward to making connections with his fellow students and refining his editing and directing skills so that he can eventually get a job on a film set.

Learn more about Utica Community Schools by visiting www.uticak12.org or by calling (586) 797-1000. See the film “Ornaments” by visiting www.vimeo.com/115682745. Learn more about the Digital Arts, Film & Television group by visiting www.daftonline.org.