High School Film Competition Official Selections: Focus & Always Sprinkle Pepper  

This post is one in a series of posts highlighting our High School Film Competition winners and official selections. Heartland Institute intern Patrick Mitchell introduces us to each filmmaker and gives a sneak peek of what to expect when these films premiere at the 2011 Heartland Film Festival Friday, October 14.

Focus – Dylan Sullivan

One of the more abstract films in the Heartland High School Film Competition was submitted to us by Dylan Sullivan. His interpretation of our 2011 theme, “Courage”, is certainly the most universal in terms of its overall appeal. Dylan speaks to all of own fears and insecurities, boldly proclaiming at the start of the film, “My name is Dylan and I don’t have courage”. At one point or another in all our lives, we must dig deep down and find the courage to do something, no matter how menial or grandiose the situation may be. As the title would suggest, the film focuses on what courage is and how its interpretation may be perceived differently depending on the person. Yet, one constant still remains, the ability to be shaped by one’s own courageousness. Somewhere in the scuffle to pin down the identity of courage, Focus comes to a proud conclusion. You’ll just have to wait and find out what that realization is.

Dylan has been creating films for 2 years now. Besides making films he enjoys theatre and has a passion for the big screen. He currently lives in Aurora, CO and hopes to pursue his passion after his senior year.

Dylan Sullivan

Always Sprinkle Pepper – Evan Trout

A retelling of a classic Shel Silverstein poem, Always Sprinkle Pepper is a stunning piece of cinematic art. The film has all the energetic spirit of an aspiring high school filmmaker coupled with the eerily dark humor unique to Silverstein. The film is void of all dialogue, aside from the recital of the poem itself. In turn, Always Sprinkle Pepper relies heavily upon it’s imagery, which is absolutely stunning to say the least. If I weren’t aware that this was a High School Film Competition, I would be convinced that this was executed by a seasoned filmmaker. Being a fan of Shel Silverstein myself, I felt as if he would be proud of how his work is represented here. It’s refreshingly whimsical and playfully ominous at the same time. The cinematography is brilliantly executed, as is the attention to detail in terms of the use of lighting as well. Always Sprinkle Pepper is a true strand out in this year’s High School Film Competition.

By creating short films that are dialogue free, Evan challenges himself to focus on visual story telling. His public service announcements that highlight teenage social issues have won multiple competitions. Evan has received a full scholarship and is attending the International Academy of Film and Television where he is pursuing a career in cinematography.

Evan Trout