By: Rebeca Puente-Limon
On February 24, Ronald Reagan’s TV production program hosted the first ever film festival at Ronald Reagan Doral Senior High. The event consisted of high school participants both from Doral and out of the city, including Doral Academy, Belen Jesuit, Columbus, AP Mays, and Ronald Reagan. A total of 24 films of different categories and genres were entered, from which 19 winners emerged at the end of the night.
The night began with Ronald Reagan sophomore Vienette Arenal greeting filmmakers and directors alike on the red carpet step-and-repeat. Like in a professional film festival, Arenal had the chance to have a one on one interview with all of the award recipients during and after the event.
Local restaurants and companies aided the event through sponsorships. Some included Pisco y Nazca, Kaphee, Film Freeway, Divieto, and Doral Family Journal.
This festival is for all schools in Miami Dade. Most school film festivals restrict submissions to solely their own students, while the Bison Film Festival opened their doors to submissions from all over the county. The film festival also acted as a step forward for the Ronald Reagan TV production program. “I wanted the kids from all the schools to have the experience of a film festival and be able to enjoy the job they are doing around other film makers who all have a common interest without the competition,” said director and organizer Rafael Diaz.
Diaz said, “Little by little we [as a school] are going to see the shift from simply television and news to film. We are working on becoming a film program, with more in depth courses and bigger opportunities.” As a first year TV production teacher, Diaz has high hopes for the evolution and future of the program. “I hope that by the time the freshmen I have now are seniors, we are able to enter state and national film festivals.”
Awards at the end of the night included Best Comedy, won by Belen Jesuit’s Jorge Iglesias, Best Drama, won by Doral Academy’s Monica Matute and Alexander Puga, and Best PSA, won by Christopher Columbus. The Grand Prize Jury went to Chirstopher Columbus with their feature “Every Drop Counts.”
Many films touched upon important societal issues. Columbus’s “Rising Tides” tackled water level issues in Miami. Doral Academy’s “Untitled” gave the aura of woman empowerment. In addition, Doral Academy’s “Still Love” brought awareness to the lgbt community, and attacked society’s norms.
Overall, it was a successful night full of talent. The featured films left friends, family, and members of the community shocked and impressed with the level of professionalism from the city’s youth.