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James Clemens Jets Press rates first at All American High School Film Festival

MADISON – Vying for acclaim among U.S. videographers and actors, Jets Press at James Clemens High School rated first place at the earned eighth annual All American High School Film Festival, based in New York City.

Organizers describe the festival as the premier destination for emerging filmmakers from all over the world. The current festival received more submissions than ever before, while expanding its network and offering more educational initiatives.

Teacher Clay Combs led his students for their outstanding work to deliver the file, “Late for Dinner,” in this highly competitive event. The contest included a 48-hour challenge during which students completed all components of a film in one weekend — writing, pre-production, filming and post-production. (https://bit.ly/3deBkQ9)

“I’m very proud of the students involved. Some have been competing in this competition since their freshman year,” Combs said. “We’ve been a finalist five times, so finally winning felt extremely gratifying.”

James Clemens competed against 36 teams across the country in very stiff competition from mostly private schools and art academies. “But no matter who we compete against, I know the creativity and hard work my students put forth will always keep them in the running,” Combs said. At James Clemens, Combs teaches “Introduction to TV Production,” “Photography” and “Advanced TV Production” (JetsPress).

Learning about their win, student Hannah Jones “was honestly shocked. I didn’t expect to win, especially against private schools who focus on film and production. When I heard that ‘Late for Dinner’ won, I kinda just blacked out. I was just overwhelmed with emotions. It truly is the highlight of my senior year.”

“Awesome job,” James Clemens Principal Dr. Brian Clayton said. “We won this with our Jets Press group. We are very excited about winning at the 2021 Spring Film Invitational – All American High School Film Festival.” (hsfilmfest.com/2021-spring-film-invitational).

Students in the production crew were Hannah Jones, Director; Zach Williams, Director of Photography; Andrew Williams, Audio Engineer; Grant Meder, Editor; and Abby Wimberley, Script Supervisor.

Cast members were Carly Parker, Grayson Waggoner, Joe Dobbs, Alex Butler, Hannah Jones and Abby Wimberley.

Tom Oliva and Andrew Jenks, co-founders of the All American High School Film Festival, started a high school club that grew quickly and was packed with young filmmakers and students wanting to explore the numerous possibilities of media.

That club was the impetus eventually to start the All American High School Film Festival. Their library has more than 10,000 films from all 50 states and 50-plus countries. Tens of thousands of student storytellers, educators, alumni and patrons of the arts endorse the festival, which has awarded more than $2 million in prizes and scholarships.

For the latest festival, the quality of work was exceptional, according to Jenks and Oliva. As they reviewed the films, they felt humbled and inspired by “layers of depth and intimate simplicity, harnessing the tools of technology and the raw power of nature. (The work) was diverse and unifying . . .  collectively the best we have ever received.”

For more information, visit hsfilmfest.com.

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