April 16, 2007

Two local filmmakers honored at competition

Delano High School students Kelsey Linden and Chris Nelson were recently honored for their entries in the “It’s Global” filmmaking competition.

Linden received second place for her public service announcement about suicide, and Nelson received third place for his entry on the difficulties of AIDS.

This is the first time that both Linden and Nelson have entered a filmmaking competition.

The two competed against professional and amateur filmmakers for top honors. Their work was evaluated by Ali Selim, who is the director of “Sweet Land,” Ellen Benavides, director of “Minnesota Confidential,” and Professor Joseph Kim of the University of Minnesota.

By entering the contest, filmmakers had an opportunity to showcase their work and make a statement on global public health topics. All entries were screened at the National Public Health Week Film Festival.

Linden and Nelson were recognized at an evening event at the University of Minnesota April 5. Other participants in the competition from Delano High School were Margaret Kittok, Ryan Rensink, and Aaron Bingea.

Linden had the opportunity to speak in front of an audience about the making of her film and the idea behind it.

“I wanted to convey the message to parents that the words ‘I love you’ can be all that a child needs to hear,” Linden said. “It’s not hard to recognize the kids who are missing parental love. I’ve seen it everywhere I go.”

Linden chose to focus on sound, rather than film footage. Her PSA deals with one phone call from her mother who says the three words that she needs to hear. Her mother, Anne Linden, actually played the mother’s voice in the film.

“My parents came with me, and it meant so much to me to have them there with me,” Linden said after the event. “It’s really all about the message that you are trying to get across, and what audience you are choosing to target. I tried to put myself in that person’s shoes. What would be going on in my head if I considered suicide?”

Both Linden and Nelson acted in their films. Initially, Linden walked into the class to grasp a better outlook on acting in front of the camera. Nelson, who hopes to look into filmography as a hobby, likes working behind the camera.

Nelson’s idea stemmed from a commercial that he had seen on television about using protection. He had a particular message that he wanted to get across in his facial expressions.

“I want to make it seem realistic. It can actually happen to real people,” he said about contracting AIDS.

After seeing the commercial, he said to himself, “That’s interesting, so I think I’d like to get that word out. It just really stunned me that one in four people had HIV/AIDS.”

When asked why he chose to act in his film, he said, “Someone else couldn’t capture what I was trying to say. They don’t know what I’m feeling.”

Nelson is a junior at Delano High School, while Linden is a senior. Both students wish to give acknowledgment to Gwen Briesemeister, who is the head of the gifted and talented classroom.

“I’ve always had an interest in film,” Nelson said. “If it wasn’t for Mrs. Briesemeister, I probably wouldn’t have submitted my film.”

Linden said Briesemeister has been incredibly supportive, is acceptive of ideas, and encouraged her to submit her film.

“She and her husband also drove to Minneapolis to see Chris and I.” Linden said. “I could really feel that she was proud, and that is such a good feeling, but really, a lot of the credit should go to her. She has one amazing class.”

“It’s definitely a class to take if you are interested in film,” Nelson added.

“Kelsey and Chris are both great students to work with,” Briesemeister said. “It is fun to see students who can write, film, and act in their own films. Working with all the student filmmakers in Delano has been a lot of fun this year.”

These films and many others will be shown at the Film Festival Sunday, May 6 at 7 p.m. at the Delano Muller Family Theater.

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