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Student Film Places in State Film Competition

From+left+to+right%3A+Alexandria+Dave%2C+Daryn+Crowninshield%2C+Brett+Bellamy%2C+Coach+Bradford%2C+and+Cole+Andrews+pose+with+their+award+in+front+of+the+Paramount+Theatre+in+Austin%2C+Texas.
From left to right: Alexandria Dave, Daryn Crowninshield, Brett Bellamy, Coach Bradford, and Cole Andrews pose with their award in front of the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas.

From left to right: Alexandria Dave, Daryn Crowninshield, Brett Bellamy, Coach Bradford, and Cole Andrews pose with their award in front of the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas.

Courtesy of Greg Andrews

Courtesy of Greg Andrews

From left to right: Alexandria Dave, Daryn Crowninshield, Brett Bellamy, Coach Bradford, and Cole Andrews pose with their award in front of the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas.

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In March, four Cypress Ranch high school students casually came together to create a short film claymation called blue, and ended up taking home a prestigious University Interscholastic League (UIL) Award.

Beginning the school project, students Brett Bellamy and Daryn Crowenshield had no intentions of even submitting their piece into the UIL Film Contest. However, their expectations were soon exceeded when their teacher, Cheryl Bradford, submitted blue to the state competition.

“We had no idea it would turn into this big thing where we would go to state,” Bellamy said.

Beginning as a simple end-of-semester project, Bellamy and Crowenshield created a film that portrayed the positive message that it is important to be yourself.

Blue is a film about a lump of clay trying to find love in the world,” Bellamy said. “And to do this, first he imitates others and it doesn’t work out. So because it doesn’t work out, he gets depressed and lonely. Then a red lump of clay named ‘red’ meets up with him and they hit it off really well and form a purple heart.”

As the two students began to brainstorm their ideas, they reached out to fellow Cy Ranch students, Cole Andrews and Alexandria Dave. While Bellamy, Crowenshield, and Andrews are all involved in the school theatre program together, they reached out to a new friend, Dave, to assist them on the clay making portion of the project.

“We needed a sculptor so we went to the art class and just asked around until we found [Dave],” Bellamy said.

After two weeks of planning the story line and gathering supplies, the talented team began preparing to film blue.

“We shared writing it, taking the pictures, and moving the actual clay,” Bellamy said. “Alex sculpted the final and the in-between phases. Cole stitched it all together and then [Daryn and I] picked the music.”

Over a duration of two days, the actual filming was finished and ready to compete.

Because Bellamy and Crowenshield did not expect blue to do so well, they sent off the film to compete in the contest without fully informing the other students involved in the production. Once the film began to further advance, Bellamy and Crowenshield excitedly told Andrews and Dave, who were obviously very shocked.

“I just know that I did this and it only took like two days,” Dave said. “So then the next thing I know, two or three months later they are like, ‘It may go to state.’”

Little did the team know that blue would, in fact, advance to the state finals where it would surpass approximately 900 other films that were submitted from students throughout the state of Texas.

“[The film] got sent off in January and I kept hearing that it would advance one more,” Bellamy said. “I was like ‘Oh, okay. Cool.’ I didn’t expect that. Then one day, Coach Bradford came to my class and told me the news.”

Blue ended up placing second in the division two traditional animation category. Although the competition is over, the film’s effects are long-term.

“Last semester when I applied for college, I didn’t think I was that good at theatre or film,” Bellamy said. “So I didn’t really register for those types of classes but now I realize I’m pretty good at it and might want to do it later on.”

Andrews, who is involved in sound development and sound engineering classes, says that participating in the technical side of the film will help him greatly in what he wants to do later in life. Being knowledgeable on how sound frequencies affect the human mind, Andrews was able to explain how the song used in blue called “Spring in my Step” caught the judges’ eye.

“Because of the whistling [in the song], it gets stuck in your head and brings a happy feeling,” Andrews said. “Higher pitch frequencies make you feel happier so you will remember the video more, which might have been what helped hit the judges more in the heart.”

After weeks of preparation, gathering a team, and stitching the film together, blue was granted an award that surpassed the filmmakers’ expectations. The catchy tune and the message portrayed in the film shared happiness, creativity and positivity that surely wowed the judges and allowed for the film to be UIL-recognized.

Watch the award-winning blue here.

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Student Film Places in State Film Competition