The High Tech Film Department Kicks Off First Annual HCST Film Festival

(Secaucus, NJ--May 29, 2019) The High Tech High School Film Department kicked of its first annual HCST Film Festival with award-winning feature filmmakers, Q & A sessions with Hollywood supporting actors, and, of course, screening of High Tech student films, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Principal of High Tech High School.
Jack of the Red Hearts by director Janet Grillo inaugurated the film festival, and the film centers on the issues of orphanage, family, and autism, as well as the themes of exclusion and inclusion. Grillo joined a panel of young student filmmakers onstage for a Q & A session in which everything from the premise of her film to giving direction to young actors had been discussed. The director, who also teaches film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, expressed her excitement at the level of professionalism exhibited by High Tech students.
Also on hand for the festival, actor John Capodice entertained attendees with stories about working in Hollywood for over fifty years with the likes of Oliver Stone, Sir Laurence Olivier, and even Jim Carrey on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Capodice's motivational style of speaking and message about opportunities for “hungry creators” resonated with all in attendance.  He has also appeared on Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and the national Polly-O-String cheese advertising campaign. High Tech instructor Chris DePierro also cast him in DePierro’s feature film Miami or Bust.
Lastly, High Tech screened forty films from over 400 submissions.  Most presented served as instructional videos to fulfill course curricula and unique personal videos as well. The High Tech Film Department also screened fifteen award-winning films by nationally-renowned corporations such as AT&T, SNY, Toyota Drive 365, Taco Bell Live Mas, The Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival, and the Ramapo College Film Festival.  The evening’s red carpet gala attracted more than 200 attendees, including executives from HBO, ABC, NBC, and GoPro and also the families of High Tech’s filmmakers.
Other highlights included Katerina Vail and Camila Garcia receiving GoPro Creator's Bundles. JMR Video Rental also donated an $1,100 cinema camera package that the judges awarded to Joselyn Bravo.  Also, High Tech Film Department alumni presented the final awards. Alana Anninipot, who currently attends Temple University and works with the Special Olympics, and Lauren Cabrera, who attends Montclair State University and works part-time for CNBC, presented the Best Concept in a Short Film and Best of the Fest awards. 
Award-winning Granton Ave, High Tech's very own band and another of the night's exciting attractions,  showed true spirit and dedication to the Film Festival, performing a fifteen-minute set even as technical difficulties almost hampered their efforts. High Tech senior David Mansour, who hosted the awards gala, played some jazz delights with Granton Ave during the awards presentation.

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