Seniors’ last red carpet walk marks bittersweet ending of an era

Lynne Carty

By Lynne Carty

Class of 2010

     WHS Film Festival’s awards night on May 8th was a bittersweet event for this year’s graduates and adviser Mike Alan as the large group of senior crew members gathered on the red carpet for the last time. The 16 senior crew members who participated in the festival this year are an especially talented group, having a large impact on virtually all of the 14 movies produced this year. As this group of Film-Fest veterans leave, Mr. Alan is making sure that the seniors stay linked to productions and help next year’s crews augment the festivals’ success. Big plans to enter a regional competition are underway, but first groups must learn new technology to fit the competitions requirements.

    The Class of 2008 has served as part of the film festival’s creative base since they were sophomores in 2005 where they laid the foundation of their future film careers. Even as underclassmen just entering the festival, the now senior crews showed their prowess by creating such cult classics as Karma, Sweet Revenge, and The Code over the past three years. They have been responsible for some of the best Film Festival crowd pleasing moments like Matt Murphy’s warrior pep talk, James Connolly’s epic golf put, and the debut of Mr.Imbusch as Mr. Connor’s Southern lackey.With superb acting, screenplay writing, and film production, the seniors have established a legacy and raised the overall expectations for film festival even higher.

    Once the seniors have left for college, the film festival serves as a way for graduates to stay connected to Walpole High School, allowing them to work with students on films and help out with the process. While Alan does not take scripts from students once they graduate, he does keep scripts written by kids while they attended WHS. “It’s a way for them to still be directly related to film festival,” says Alan. This year a WHS graduate’s screenplay was used for one of the film class’s movies, “Locker Space.”The script, written by Matt Ferrara (Class of 2006) received a nomination for Best Screenplay and allowed him to make a return to the red carpet after graduating two years ago. Since the seniors have been so involved in the film festival in past years, Alan is expecting to see “a high percentage of seniors making cameos or helping productions next year.”

    While Alan is sad to see the seniors go, he’s not worried because, as he says, “someone steps up every year.” The incoming juniors and seniors have shown a lot of potential in this year’s films (being responsible for crowd favorites like “A Sophomore’s Tale” and “Baked Goods”), so chances are that he will not be disappointed. This year’s juniors have already begun to step it up, raking in some of the most prestigious awards like Best Director (Rory Quinlan and Carolyn Cawley) and Best Editing (Mike Flaherty along with senior Justin Cotellessa). With a fantastically gifted group of promising juniors, sophomores, and newfound freshmen talent, the future of the film festival is looking bright.

    This year there were 14 feature films and, as interest expands,the possibility of taking Walpole’s film program to the next level is becoming more real. Other towns in the surrounding area have taken notice of the film festival and have contacted Mr.  Alan about starting their own. Recently he helped Dedham High School to get its film festival – made up of mostly short films – off the ground.  Alan says he would be interested in taking the next logical step in expanding the WHS Film Festival, which would be a regional film festival, but he needs help from students who are interested in composing scores. To enter a regional competition, film soundtracks must be original, with no copyrighted music. With the help of students willing to work on composing original scores using “Garage Band” and other music programs, entering the contest would be a possibility for next year. 

    The WHS Film Festival gives students exposure to the Hollywood filming process by providing them with a rare experience as the only public high school film festival in Massachusetts to produce feature length films. The process, although tiring at times, is a memorable, addictive, and enjoyable learning experience (which is probably why most Film-Fest veterans can be seen in the movie credits after they have graduated). Now, after another successful year, it’s time for crews to start getting ready for film festival number seven.