Students who attend the Freehold Regional High School District’s Fine and Performing Arts Academy have won $5,000 for their film “Daytime Summit.” The students were recently honored at Kings Theater, Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Fine and Performing Arts Academy is based at Howell High School and enrolls students from the district’s sending municipalities.
The national competition, which is a new component to the All-American High School Film Festival, involved nine schools from around the country. Each team was required to create a film inspired by a prompt and then film their original script over two days in New York City.
Howell High School’s prize for earning the top honor was $5,000, which will be presented to the Entertainment Technology program in the Fine and Performing Arts Academy, directed by Scott Napolitano, according to information provided by the school district.
Napolitano is the Entertainment Technology video instructor/project producer at Howell High School. He said the award reinforced his faith in the students and the entertainment program.
“This was a huge gamble for us,” he said. “We had never attempted something so ambitious and to win on our first time out among such competitive and distinguished programs is a wonderfully positive feeling.”
“Daytime Summit” focuses on two friends who are growing apart at a crucial point in their lives.
Bernie Torres, 17, of Howell, co-wrote and directed the film. She said the award made her realize what she should be doing with the rest of her life.
“It solidified my future plans and restored some confidence in myself and my abilities,” Torres said.
Zach Miller, 17, of Manalapan, co-wrote and starred in the film. He said he had the opportunity to have a positive impact on the entire process.
“I got to put some creativity into something special that people from school recognized and for us, that’s a big deal,” Miller said. “People have learned more about our program as a result.”
Max Amar, 17, of Manalapan, co-wrote the film and said the project reinforced his desire to become a professional filmmaker.
“It proved itself to be a great accomplishment for the Fine and Performing Arts Academy program and inspired me to push on with film in the future,” Amar said.
Napolitano said the students have been glowing since the award was presented to them.
“Our faculty and staff have been going out of their way to congratulate us, but more importantly, it has the younger kids asking, ‘Where do we go from here? What can we do next?’ ” he said.
The students were able to film at Washington Square Park and Grand Central Terminal, among other locations in the city.
The students were able to enjoy a screening of their work at the AMC 24 Theater on 42nd Street alongside their fellow invitational colleagues, according to information provided by the school district.
Also screening during the weekend were other films from Howell’s Entertainment Technology program, including “Forgotten: The Lost Planet” and “Dead Man’s Curve.”
“Daytime Summit,” “Forgotten,” “Dead Man’s Curve” and other Howell films may be seen at the website www.vimeo.com/howellfpacvideo.