Teen filmmakers hailed for promoting healthy living
By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Loren Moreno
Budding filmmakers from Hawai'i's public and private schools got the red-carpet treatment during Thursday night's 2008 HMSA Teen Video Awards, where some of the best student-produced public service announcements were honored.
From anti-smoking messages to videos on the dangers of sexual predators, students from across the state submitted more than 180 videos expressing messages of living healthy.
Awards were presented in six categories ranging from fitness to underage drinking.
Jordan Teruya, a senior at Mililani High School, won the Fitness & Nutrition category with his "Get Fit" public service announcement.
Done as a sort of parody of the Apple Inc. commercials, Teruya's 30-second PSA was animated with hand-drawn sketches that were scanned and then manipulated on computer.
"This is pretty much the way that I express myself," Teruya said of his love for video and filmmaking.
Two teens from Wai'anae High School took top honors for their anti-smoking commercial titled "Speak out against smoking." Students Makani Matutino and Rachel Paaluhi worked together in producing the video clip.
The video, which also captured the best tobacco-free award, was among the top 98 public service announcements that premiered at Thursday night's ceremony at Ward Consolidated Theatres. Top student-produced PSAs are expected to air on a variety of local TV channels, as well.
"Teens listen to teens more. Those messages, we hope, are going to resonate with young people better than anything we can come up with," said Laura Lott, a spokeswoman for HMSA.
Lott also said the competition is an opportunity for students who may not excel at sports or art or music to express themselves creatively through a different medium.
"We've heard from teachers that students who weren't the jocks, maybe students who were even struggling in school, were really turned back on to learning as a result of this creative outlet," Lott said.
So what exactly does it take to put together a 30-second PSA?
Anthony Czumalowski, a senior at Mililani High, said it takes weeks to take a video from concept to completion.
"We start out with story boarding ... then to filming. When you finally have all that done, you bring it back and edit it," he said.
Editing can often be the longest, most tedious part, he said. He said his group continually went back to make small tweaks and revisions.
Czumalowski's teammate Mike Tanji said his group, which submitted several videos for the competition, shared a passion for filmmaking and storytelling. All three of the Mililani students said they'd like to explore filmmaking as a career.
"This is something I want to pursue in the future. I figure (the competition) could put my skills to the test," Tanji said.
Mililani High School teacher Shelly Bishop said the filmmaking project integrates the knowledge that students get in other subjects.
"There is always storytelling involved and writing out their scripts," Bishop said.
Kapolei High School teacher Daryl Madela said students integrate the work they do in their social studies, psychology and English classes into their video work. Kapolei submitted about 17 videos for this year's competition.
Patrick Guanzon, a junior at Kapolei High, worked on a video that expressed the dangers of Internet predators.
"The concept of the video was a young girl who meets a boy online. But when she meets him in person, she realizes he's a predator," he said.
Guanzon said his group came up with the idea after watching news reports about kids who were victimized by people they met online.
Reach Loren Moreno at firstname.lastname@example.org.