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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

From Script To Screen In 48 Hours: St. Johnsbury Film Slam Encourages Young Movie Makers

Courtesy, Catamount Arts
The Tap Into Film 48-Hour Film Slam invites students to create teams and write, direct, edit and premiere a short film in just two days' time.

Registration is now open for Tap Into Film: 48-Hour Student Film Slam, an intense, two-day event, presented byCatamount Arts in St. Johnsbury and The School Of Creative And Performing Arts.

Teams of 3-5 middle, high school or college students from across the region compete in the movie-making slam to win $1,000 in cash prizes.

Over the last weekend in April, young people from the area will be tasked with writing a screenplay, casting roles, acting in, filming and then editing the piece for its local premiere at the event.

Last year, Zoe Leach, then an 11-year-old student at The St. Johnsbury School, and her team of fellow students took home the cash prize for the middle school category.

The group's winning black-and-white short film, Brave Boy, runs seven minutes and features black-belt-level martial arts and an all-knowing rubber ducky.

Credit Courtesy, Erin Narey
Last year, Zoe Leach [second from left] and her team won the cash prize for middle school groups in the Tap Into Film: 48-Hour Film Slam.

Leach recently spoke to VPR about the contest's challenges and the skills she learned and still uses today.

"Since I didn't know anybody on the team, we had to learn to cooperate and very quickly ... so I have a lot of teamwork skills that I gathered from that weekend and I still use them." — Zoe Leach, one of last year's student-winners of Tap Into Film: 48-Hour Film Slam

Leach plans to join in the filmmaking competition again this year with an all-female team.

Melissa Leo, associate director for summer programs at the School Of Creative And Performing Arts (SOCAPA), talked about the school's role in the event. She said SOCAPA provides the film equipment and sound kits during the slam for all middle school teams and any high school teams that opt-in to the workshops run by SOCAPA instructors.

Leo said, "From observing filmmaking ... you just see all the opportunities for learning and teamwork that come up sort of naturally through the project. You have to really rely on each other as a team. Teams have to be really resourceful and flexible."

"A really great reminder for me, and hopefully for people who are part of it, is how important the process is. I think that's a really good reminder, you know, not to take it too seriously but that the process itself is just tons of fun," Leo said.

Team registrationfor the event is open through Wednesday, April 19.

An information session for interested team leaders is March 22 at 5:45 p.m., at the Kingdom Tap Room. Find out what a team leader's role is from veteran film-slam team leaders.

 The Film On Tap 48-Hour Student Film Slam begins Friday, April 28 at 5 p.m., and culminates with the film showcase and awards ceremony on Sunday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
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