FAIRHAVEN – Media arts students not only pushed through the pandemic, but also drew on their own experiences and made it the screenplay for a new project.
Fairhaven High School received 10 nominations and eight awards from the 2021 New England Regional Student Production Awards.
Senior Charlie Fernandes set a new record by receiving seven awards for his work.
Looking back on his four year high school career in film and media, Fernandes created a college app in the form of a video titled “Who Am I?” who followed his career as a young child until graduation and his early interest in cinema. When you answer the common quorum question “Who am I?” He remembers the reasons he chose cinema early on and all the home videos he made growing up, but realizes he’s become the successful creator he is today with the help of his friends and family, always supporting his pursuit of happiness.
âIt went from a desire to a need,â Fernandes said in his voiceover for the video.
His video essay has received awards for short non-fiction, photography, director, and editor.
In partnership with junior Evan Pina Jr., Fernandes created a music video for King Guru’s “She’s the Only One”, which received awards in the music video, photography, director, editor and special effects and animation categories.
The clip was shot before the pandemic at Java Shack in Dartmouth and edited until early April. Starring Pina, it tells the story of a boy who gains self-confidence to talk to a girl he’s interested in and the challenges of getting her attention. With her acting skills, Pina received a talent award for her performance. Fernandes added some exciting elements, like throwing Pina into a pool for an underwater effect and relearning to play the guitar for a few hits.
âIt was very heavy on special effects,â said Fernandes, referring to the masking process, combining two clips together.
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Media production teacher Drew Furtado said the music video project was a different way of telling a story and required students to use music to propel the story.
Fernandes’ English project, “Lord of the Flies” was shot exclusively during the summer quarantine at West Island State Reservation in Fairhaven and Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, RI The trailer portrays William Golding’s novel of the same name. His work has received awards for advertising, photography, director and editor.
“It is more difficult to plan things whether there is a pandemic or not,” Fernandes said. “It’s harder to make a movie than most people think from an outside perspective.”
âWe had to change the whole program,â Furtado said. âWe had to be nimble and adapt.
Furtado said the amount of work students produce is lower than normal, due to state guidelines to minimize equipment sharing and adhere to social distancing and other safety measures. In the digital animation unit, the students were grouped into smaller cohorts and they could get out of the cameras and film.
Fernandes said: “Who am I? was hit the hardest by the pandemic because he played with it because it didn’t come out the way he wanted and he wanted to get more hits.
Some students have integrated the pandemic into their work. Juniors Lilly LaFleur and Paige Bettencourt created their music video for Kacey Musgraves ‘”Rainbow”, which showed the two girls’ individual struggles to cope with the pandemic, “finding hope in dark times,” Bettencourt said.
âWe have all had a difficult year and wanted to focus on our experiences,â said Bettencourt.
LaFleur said she has felt really lonely over the past year as her main way of socializing is being physically with someone in person and it is difficult for her to find socialization at home. She found other ways to occupy herself, such as reading and painting.
Bettencourt’s parents are the first responders and she said having them on the ground during the pandemic was difficult. They worked long hours and she didn’t see them often, leaving her to cook on her own most nights, as seen in the clip.
LaFleur and Bettencourt received a nomination for their music video.
Students Ariel Cousineau, Jake Ozcan and Nina Medeiros also received a nomination for their PSA, âSocial Distancingâ.
All productions can be viewed on FHS Media Arts here.
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Fairhaven High’s media arts students have had success beyond high school graduation.
Former student Jordan Costa, 2015 FHS graduate and 2019 University of Rhode Island graduate, worked as COVID-19 location assistant for upcoming “Don’t Look Up” movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence with filming locations in Fall River.
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Alyssa Botelho, a 2017 FHS graduate, just received two degrees from the University of Rhode Island in Film / Media and Business Management. After two successful films during her junior and senior years, “Junkie” and “To Dust All Return”, both shot locally, she took the film world by storm.
âJunkieâ revolves around the opioid crisis and law enforcement relations, particularly the struggling one in New Bedford, based on a true story of someone Botelho knows in law enforcement. Ironically, she met Fernandes on set as he was recommended as a boom operator by Furtado.
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“To Dust All Return” is a period piece from the 1700s with a strong female role. Fernandes also contributed to this short film.
Botelho said her high school career had a rocky start academically, but once she was introduced to Furtado’s media production classes her whole outlook shifted. Instead of leaving school early, Botelho found herself staying for hours after school completely engrossed in film projects.
âBefore he knew what the word meant, he was really my mentor,â Botelho said of Furtado. “If you wanted to push yourself, he gave you the tools to do it.”
Botelho said she has noticed, along with others, that FHS graduates who pursue college studies in film and media enter the program with advanced knowledge and understanding of the field, sometimes even one to two years. before the first year college program. Botelho also credits English teacher Alfred McNeill and music teacher Jeremy Young with extensive training that has helped her advance in the film industry as a screenwriter.
Discussing high school-to-college options, Botelho said there was this perception that private schools with high tuition rates would have been best for her, while the best experience came from a public school in her town. .
âThe media in Fairhaven have a legacy,â Botelho said. âIt’s crazy to think of what you can get there as a public high school. It’s such a neglected story, such a hidden gem. We’re so lucky to have the program there.â
Standard-Times editor-in-chief Kerri Tallman can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ktallman_SCT for links to recent articles.
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