The Cherokee Office of Economic Development, along with the Cherokee County School District’s audio/video technology and film educators, announced the winners of the second annual Cherokee Student Film Festival this month, COED Film Project Manager Molly Mercer said.

A virtual screening and awards presentation on YouTube was held May 6. 

With parameters designed to simulate production requirements, 22 groups of students from all six CCSD high schools met criteria for screening, Mercer said in a written statement. Submissions were judged by Thomas and Ashley Cantley, a Woodstock-based production team and founders of Creative School Atlanta. Awards were issued based on the judges’ total scores in the following categories: Best Cinematography, Best Sound Quality, Best Use of Prop, Best Use of Line, and Best of Show.  

The 2020 Cherokee Student Film Festival Winners are as follows: 

-Best of Show: “Unknown User,” produced by Devontay Sanders and Ashton Gulledge of Cherokee High School.  

-Runner up Best of Show: “Within,” produced by Jadon Deaton and Brighton St. Vrain of Creekview High School. 

-Third Place: “Glowing Back in Time,” produced by Ellie Phelps, Carter Speaks and Wes Watson of Cherokee High School. 

-Audience Choice Awards for Qualifying Entry: “Within,” produced by Jadon Deaton and Brighton St. Vrain of Creekview High School. 

-Audience Choice Award for a Participating Entry: “The Huddlesworth Chronicles,” produced by Jack Scott, Jack Puckett, Ben Gilbert and Charlie Mohar from Etowah High School. 

-Best Cinematography: “Unknown User,” produced by Devontay Sanders and Ashton Gulledge of Cherokee High School. 

-Best Sound Quality: “Spider Stop,” produced by Will Jones of Creekview High School. 

-Best Use of Line: “Within,” produced by Jadon Deaton and Brighton St. Vrain of Creekview High School.

-Best Use of Prop: “Alternate Glow,” produced by Caroline Carter of Creekview High School. 

To adhere to COVID-19 social distancing measures, qualified entries were uploaded to a newly created Cherokee Student Film Festival YouTube channel. Students were tasked with employing grassroots marketing methods to increase viewership and win votes for the “Audience Choice” award category – an adaptation that would also enable them to link back to projects when applying for future jobs. 

“CCSD educators, along with Film Project Manager Molly Mercer, have gone above and beyond to make the Cherokee Student Film Festival a reality through a virtual, online screening, even amidst a global pandemic,” said COED President Misti Martin. “Opportunities like these provide students with the technical and creative skills needed for Georgia’s booming film industry.” 

The Cherokee Student Film Festival represents COED’s second collaboration with CCSD AVTF students this year. Held in January, the Cherokee Student Film Summit featured expert guidance from local filmmakers on a variety of topics such as screenwriting, editing, and filming original stories, Mercer said. The Cherokee Student Film Festival was strategically launched one week later, challenging students to apply newly acquired knowledge from the summit. 

“The Georgia film industry offers students exciting career opportunities close to home," said CCSD  Superintendent Dr. Brian Hightower.  “The partnership between our dedicated teachers  and  COED  provides  students the chance to learn and network with industry professionals at the annual summit and showcase their productions at the film festival.   We look forward to seeing our students’ names on many professional film, TV, and video credits for years to come as a result of this community investment." 

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