National Student Production Awards

If I were to go back in time to tell the younger, middle school version of myself what was going to be happening in 8 years, I don’t think he’d believe me.

Being awarded three National Student Production Awards by NATAS is such an amazing honor. I want to start this off by thanking them for such an amazing opportunity. Like I said, the twelve year old making youtube videos in his room would have never expected such a day.

In the sixth grade, I created a short film called “The Ultimate Nerf War.” It was at that point that I realized that I could officially take an idea, put it in writing, shoot it, edit it SPA01(with iMovie) and post it to YouTube so that my friends and family could see it. This concept blew my middle school mind. I was hooked. I continued making small action short films for several years. After entering High School, I began experimenting with documentary styled filmmaking. It wasn't until my Junior year of high school that I began experimenting with dramatic narrative films again. After people started to take notice and wanted to be involved, we made the decision to expand. My longtime friend (and now business partner), Kyle Fitzgerald and I formed the company MAV Films, LLC. We began making larger projects and trying new things.Over the course of two years, we had created a decent size portfolio.

In the summer of 2015, we were awarded four Student Production Awards by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. We were extremely honored. After the awards in July, we began production on our largest project to date; EAST POINT. It was about a band of teens surviving together in the world of the zombie apocalypse. The production of this film was an entire uphill battle and learning experience for us. By the time of its premiere in January of 2016, it had turned into a collaboration of over 50 high school students in the state of Kentucky. After this project we continued to grow and experiment with new films.

In the summer of 2016, we were being honored with six Student Production Awards by the Ohio Valley Chapter of NATAS. We were even more shocked when we found out that NATAS had nominated us for three National Student Production Awards in the categories of Directing, Audio/Sound, and Cinematography. At that time, our entire production team was heading off to college. Even though we were all going separate places, we agreed that we would all work together again when the chance comes around. At 12:00 pm October 4th, my roommates and I gathered around the computer in our dorm to watch the live stream of the awards ceremony. I was blown away to find out that we had won in all three nominated categories. I was in shock. SPA02It was an amazing feeling to know that all the hard work we had put in over the past few years had paid off. We finally had achieved national recognition. I am now in production on a short film set to be completed by Thanksgiving. I am extremely excited to begin my collegiate filmmaking career at Savannah College of Art and Design. I look forward to what the future holds.

I started filmmaking entirely because I was curious. I loved movies so much and I knew that I wanted make them. I fell in love with this medium of storytelling because of how unique it is. You can impose just about any emotion on an audience by creating something in film. It’s an exciting time to be a student in the film world. Thanks to technology, filmmaking is becoming an extremely accessible art form. Now, anyone with an idea and ambition can bring their story to life through film. I am extremely grateful for all of my teachers who have pushed me along the way. Without them I would have never had the opportunity of attending a NATAS award show.

The work NATAS does to help young filmmakers is amazing. I feel like I have grown as both an artist and a person thanks to the opportunities and connections that NATAS has helped me create. The middle school version of me would be astonished and extremely grateful. I can only hope that years from now I would be wishing for the same conversation with my current self.


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