August 4, 2008

Dallas Team Wants Your Vote in Samsung Film Contest

By Rachel Slade, The Dallas Morning News

Aug. 4--A group of teens will be on TV, handing out fliers and using every weapon in the Internet's arsenal from YouTube videos to blogging this week to get out the vote -- for them.

The 15-member camera-slinging posse is representing Dallas in Samsung Mobile's Fresh Films contest, which pits teams of teens in nine U.S. cities against one another for the prize of a trip to Hollywood, a screening at the American Film Institute festival and feedback from a jury of industry professionals.

The Dallas team members, ages 13 to 20, came from local cities such as Colleyville and Rockwall and from as far away as Florida. But all came with the same goal: Get to L.A.

They had one week to cast, produce, direct and edit "Saturday," a short drama about two teens' decision to run away from home.

The script was created by a teen winner from a separate competition, but the Dallas team made it their own by interpreting the characters' motivations and fine-tuning their dress, gestures and personalities, said 18-year-old Adam Nuffer, a recent graduate of Trinity Christian Academy.

The week climaxed with a 15-hour-long, hot day of shooting, said Regan Staudt, a 14-year-old incoming freshman at Grapevine High School.

The teens squeezed equipment into narrow hallways, "cooked" while filming in a hot garage, waited for the sun to set and were attacked by insects while holding lights for night scenes, said 16-year-old Morgan Williams, a rising senior at Coppell High School. "The next day we had bites all over the place," she said.

But spirits remained high and inside jokes flew as they rotated duties to get a glimpse of every aspect of behind-the-scenes life.

"It's proof that if you know the techniques and are surrounded by good people, you can get anything accomplished," said Brent Coble, a 20-year-old studying film at the University of North Texas.

Voting for the first round started at noon Thursday. By Monday morning, the Dallas team had more than 45 percent of the votes. The teens said they will be chained to their computers until they've voted as many times as possible: 1,000.

"Me and Redbull are going to get along this week," Mr. Coble said.


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