VTO Recap: 2020 Biology Human Impact Film Festival

January 29, 2020 by Andrew Woods

The twists and turns that define the different chapters of our lives can often feel disjointed, but now and then, we’re lucky enough to have our different chapters align.

This past Monday, I had the chance to align many of my chapters at the 2020 Biology Human Impact Film Festival. The festival featured 11 short documentaries produced by Catoctin High School’s Honors Biology class. Topics ranged from ocean plastic pollution to sea level rise, global warming, ocean acidification, and more.

The students were tasked with producing a short documentary that:

  • defines the problem they’ve researched and how it affects biodiversity
  • provide a well thought out and reasonable solution
  • is neat and organized and includes visuals that enhance the final video

Now, you might be wondering how my story intertwines with this film festival.

  • The teacher who organized this film festival is one of my best friends since Middle School.
  • We both attended Catoctin High School (Class of ’05!)
  • I studied Film and Video at Drexel University
  • I was the Assistant Canvass Director at Clean Water Action, an environmental non-profit
  • I’m currently the Director of Marketing & Strategy at Duckpin (you knew that one!)

Knowing the above, you might not be surprised that I was asked to be a judge on the film festival panel. Not to be cheesy, but it felt pretty cool to have all of those things come together.

What was even cooler were the documentaries these students produced. Several of them went above and beyond, reaching out to local politicians for interviews, sourcing relevant video clips, and editing together a video piece that was extremely informative and effective. I was so impressed.

I addressed the class afterward to let them know they did a fantastic job, and that some of them produced work that exceeded what some of my filmmaking peers at Drexel were capable of entering our freshmen year. I also encouraged them to keep making videos if they enjoyed the process.

Afterward, their teacher let me and the rest of the panel know that it meant a lot to the students to hear from us and to see that we were impressed and interested in the work they produced. I won’t be surprised if several of these students go on to do great things. This past Monday might have been a day that sets one of them off on a new journey. It was great to be involved.

2020 Biology Human Impact Film Festival

Biology Human Impact Film Festival

Biology Human Impact Film Festival