H-F Film Students Show Out at Regional Competition


A shot from Jake Goldberg and Devin Gorton’s film The Circle.

This past Sept., several H-F students took home some hardware at the Golden Lion Film Festival. For over a decade, the Golden Lion has provided a competition for high school students.

H-F Film teacher Matthew Holdren, has been submitting his students’ films to competitions for several years now, the most notable being the MMEA State Festival. Since 2017, when the Golden Lion expanded to 12 states, Holdren has submitted films that have done very well in the competition.

“I love to see my students win because I love to watch the reactions when they win,” Holdren said. “Still, I always tell them that you have to make content for yourself and no one else. If it resonates with people and they give you awards then good, but In the end it needs to resonate with yourself.”

For the Movie Trailer Category, Senior Adam Freeman and class of 2020 graduate Caroline Johnson, took first place for their video “Unhinged”. 

Freeman won second place for the cinematography category at MMEA and was thrilled to get even more recognition at the regional level. 

“It sucked not placing for the trailer category at MMEA but it was such an ethereal feeling to win first for Golden Lion,” Freeman said. “Film with Holdren at H-F and winning these awards has definitely helped me want to pursue a career in the arts.”

Devin Gorton and Jake Goldberg won first place for Movie Trailer at the MMEA state competition and got second at the Golden Lion for their film “The Circle,”

Video By Jake Goldberg and Devin Gorton

They also were finalists in the short narrative category for “Last Man Standing.”

“It feels great to be able to be recognized for projects I’ve done on any level, especially for state and Golden Lion, but it’s also important to stay humble and remember that awards don’t always validate one’s work,” Goldberg said. “The film and broadcasting classes at HF have impacted me more than any other class in my life, and I am very grateful for that.”

In addition, junior Guinevere May, and 2o2o graduates Ruben Villarreal and Xander Branch won third place for their Music Video “Selfish”. 

For the commercial category, finalists include graduates Ben Hamer and Jake Goldberg with their “Tesla Commercial”, and Adam Freeman for his video “Desserts by Jane”.

Video by Jake Goldberg and Ben Hamer

Senior Lauren Matthews was a finalist in the Alternative Category for her animated film “Reimagined”.

In the Short Documentary Category, graduates Prasanth Madana, Maya Nash and Manal Azam were finalists with their film “Changemakers: Now is the Time”.

And For Long Documentary, Juliette Benjamin and Ben Hamer were finalists for their films “The Matthew Kocher Story” and “Phase One”.

Video by Juliette Benjamin and Ben Hamer
Video by Ben Hamer

Many of these students have decided to continue their journey with film into college and much of it has to do with the experience at H-F. 

“It’s very rewarding to watch my former students continue working with media and film after high School,” Holdren said. “I want my former students to always be creative because I believe that’s why we are put on this Earth.”