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Hatboro-Horsham High School Students Nominated for Film Awards

Hatboro-Horsham High School students Emily Simonsen and Karen Murphy recording on location in Horsham for one of HHTV Summer Film Camp’s projects.
Hatboro-Horsham High School students Emily Simonsen and Karen Murphy recording on location in Horsham for one of HHTV Summer Film Camp’s projects.

Hatboro-Horsham High School students in the HHTV class are celebrating their nominations into several national film festivals. Over twenty films written, filmed and produced by the class have been nominated in the Student EMMY Awards for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; the Lighthouse International Film Festival; the Greenfield Youth Film Festival; and the 10 Day Film Challenge.

“The students definitely come up with some very mature ideas for young people,” teacher Dave Thomas said. “And they aren’t skidding over the topics either. They want to delve into them by doing research and interviews. They want to make a difference by getting to the heart of their topic.”

The documentary “No One Asked Me,” is one of those films. It introduces Hatboro-Horsham student Geordie Meck and his two moms. While the issue of homosexuality is often in the news, rarely do we hear from the children of these couples, until now. Geordie talks frankly about growing up and hearing the harsh phrases people used to describe his family. He shares with viewers that no one has ever asked him his opinion on gay marriage before and he’s tired of listening in silence to the negativity spread by conservative views.

Other student films range from serious documentaries about a local, non-profit cancer support organization to humorous musicals about how all you need is a silly song and dance to make it. Many of the films though, Thomas said, were in class assignments where students ran with their ideas.

“I’m most impressed with their level of commitment and follow through when it comes to these films,” Thomas said. “Most of the time, these are 14- or 15-year-old kids making these films. It takes time to get the footage and research it. It can take days to edit it too. These students are committed to this.”

One film headed to the Student EMMY Awards is “The Weight I Carry,” a film students have been working on for three years. The documentary looks at the short- and long-term impacts of students carrying excessively heavy backpacks throughout their high school career. The film includes interviews with students, teachers and a doctor in hopes of beginning a discussion not only in the district, but across the country, on the impacts of heavy student backpacks. This is one of the first in-depth looks into the issue of excessively heavy backpacks, since no known study has yet to be conducted.

The HHTV film program is in its sixth year of production and has already received over 40 awards for films completely created by students. The class exposes students to a variety of film techniques, including documentary and experimental production. Students gain hands-on experience for writing, filming, editing and producing cutting-edge videos.

Some of the films nominated for awards are available for viewing at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJqOr9Rw4c0tJiSLXY143Lyd0XOxOifmj.

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