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Festival Rolls Out Red Carpet for Milton Film Club

When George Luo ’18 wrote his first screenplay at the end of his freshman year at Milton, he rounded up about 20 people who said they’d be interested in helping him make the film. Over that summer, interest fizzled, and George never made the movie—which is OK, he jokes, because “it was probably the worst screenplay of all time.”

A few more attempts failed; it was hard to manage the process alone. So, during Class III, George and some friends founded the Hollywood Filmmaking Club, which has lent structure to film projects, he says.

Last year, the club, which includes actors and students interested in directing and writing, worked together to make George’s film, Under the Wound, which was accepted in several film festivals. Over Columbus Day weekend in 2017, six members of the club went to New York City, where the 20-minute drama was an official selection of the All American High School Film Festival, an event that honors the best of high-school films from across the country.

“It’s a big festival,” says performing arts faculty member Shane Fuller, who advises the club. “It was cool to see the students taking on the project as their own and doing all the work. They did all the scheduling, filming, casting, lighting and editing. The film itself is terrific. The attention to detail is really great.”

Under the Wound explores the damage that unfurls from a single lie. George wrote and directed it; he had been inspired by a critically acclaimed Danish film called The Hunt.

After early missteps in making movies, George felt motivated to learn everything he could in film classes. Shane’s advanced filmmaking class created a film called Abstraction, which was accepted into several festivals; George, Conor Greene ’18, and Joey Leung ’17 won the best cinematography award at the Hotchkiss Film Festival in the spring.

The All American High School Film Festival is an opportunity to hear from established filmmakers, visit a college fair with a focus on film programs, and absorb the work of other student artists.

“I know that there are films that are better than mine, and I want to watch them,” George says. “I know that my next project has to be better than the previous one. That’s the standard I’ve set for myself. And I think for people our age, watching great films that are created by young people is excellent motivation.”

HAVING FUN

How does fun figure in your life? Finding joy in the pursuit of an activity, or a craft or a skill, is valuable beyond its short-term pleasure. Play, even when it’s actually hard work, profoundly affects emotional balance, self-esteem, competency and drive. Play is a vital resource for successful people. In this issue, Milton Magazine brings stories about alumni ventures that have been labors of love. An observer might think their work looks like fun. Driven by a particular passion, these alumni end up pursuing creative work that is as challenging as it is rewarding.

We ask Milton students, as well, to describe how they find fun in their busy, committed lives.