Robert Katz, co-web editor
Applause thundered through the Salter Family Theater as the first Beverly film festival opened. For an hour on Thursday, April 25, seven aspiring directors shared seven independently-made films with an audience of expectant peers and judges.
Filmmaker and senior Daniel Dalah designed the festival to open up an outlet to showcase the cinematic talent of Beverly students.
“I’ve been in the film festival circuit a while myself and I was wondering why our school doesn’t have a showcase for films,” Dalah said. “I talked to Alex Hubschman and we drew up rules and regulations and dates, all that kind of business stuff, and we propelled it into motion.”
To evaluate each film, Media Director Romeo Carey, Performing Arts Dept. Chair Herb Hall, Principal Carter Paysinger, psychology instructor Dr. David Wolf and English teacher Dr. Steven Rubenstein were selected as judges. In addition, the Beverly Courier provided Dalah with a sponsorship in the form of prizes for winners.
Dalah and Hubschman ran into difficulties while organizing the festival before it could come to fruition.
“April 24 was the festival date, so we had to make sure Coachella wasn’t interfering. We had to look at every single holiday to see if there was anything going on in any other religions. As well, it was very difficult to talk to each of the judges and get them to coordinate. I had to speak with the principal a couple times because he was a judge and to get his permission on a couple of things. He’s a very busy man so it was kind of difficult to meet with him sometimes.”
Carey was impressed by the results of the competition and the quality of the movies produced.
“The film festival itself actually turned into an artistic endeavour,” Carey said. “Kids really pushed the limits of what they can do and we found that remarkable films were made.”
He also expressed interest in the festival’s potential for the future.
“A film festival, for all intents and purposes, could be a money-maker if you do it right,” Carey said. “Now you’re bringing people in from the outside. There’s such a curiosity about the city that you could open it up and have a larger campaign. It could literally pay for a department if you do it right. [This year’s festival is] the genesis that [Dalah] started, it’s just a matter of building onto it next year,” Carey said.
Dalah is currently planning next year’s follow-up to the festival.
“We’re working out a system,” Dalah said, “but my theory right now is we’ll get two incoming seniors, one from the drama department and one from KBEV, pair them up, and they’re going to be spearheading [the festival]. I’ll stay involved in it, because it’s awesome. If [next year’s seniors] need any help, I’d like to come back and give help, support in any way I can.”