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Jets audio/visual students ace state, head to nationals

MADISON – Mobile was the destination for students in the Arts Audio/Visual Academy at James Clemens High School to enter the 55th annual Alabama State Leadership Conference and SkillsUSA Championships.

At James Clemens, students begin their study in the Arts A/V Academy with “Introduction to TV Production.” Students then can move to film with JETSpress or to TV production with “On the Radar.”

Clay Combs teaches “Introduction to TV Production” and “Advanced TV Production” (JETSpress). Hannah Stockman works with these students and teaches English 9.

“JETSpress works mostly with short films, PSAs and music videos; however, we are currently finishing a full-length feature film this semester. ‘On the Radar’ (produces) student news, commercials and promo videos for the school and community,” Combs said.

To reach state championships, James Clemens entered district competition at Calhoun Community College and won first and second place in Digital Cinema and first and third place in TV Production.

Based on club size, Skills USA determines how many teams can participate. “Because our SkillsUSA club has nearly 30 participants, we could send three teams for each district competition. Only first and second place from the district qualify for state,” Combs said.

After reaching second place at district, Diya Patel and Arden Sindel claimed first place in Digital Cinema at state. Noah Fisher and Donovan White won first-place honors at district and qualified to compete in Digital Cinema at state. In TV Production, Laura Brown and Errius Horrison earned first place at district and advanced to state.

“We won first place in the state in the Digital Cinema category and have now qualified for nationals held in June in Atlanta,” Combs said.

“For our first experience competing with SkillsUSA, I could not be more proud of our student’s hard work and determination throughout the school year,” Combs said. “Their preparation paid off with our first state championship banner with Skills.”

“Every group that traveled to Mobile showed excellence in creativity, talent and perseverance. On top of that, they networked with other schools across the state and made true connections with other students going into the TV production or film industries,” Combs said.

“For district, digital cinema teams had to make a short film, while TV production teams created a commercial for a fictional politician,” Combs said. “For state, digital cinema was tasked with another short film but also had four hours in the editing room to cut a movie trailer from their film. TV production students had to film before state, and then turn that B-roll (secondary footage) into a PSA in four hours.”

In other work, James Clemens is finalizing their feature film titled, “Tomatoes and Marigolds,” to release in late May or early June. The film will premiere in local theaters.

In addition, JETSpress Filmmaking Summer Camp will be conducted June 3-7. Cost is $75 and includes a camp shirt, daily snacks, lunch on Friday with a screening of all camp films and a link to their movie. For more information, visit Facebook or Instagram.

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