FOASS celebrates student creativity

Serena Bettis

Films on a Shoestring (FOASS) is Fossil Ridge High School’s annual festival celebrating student-made films, from documentaries to short films all the way to music videos and comedic pieces. In its fifth annual run, students, teachers, and community members viewed more than twenty films in the Performing Arts Center on Friday, May 4. At the end of the evening, Ridge TV students received awards for their contributions to the films, including recognition for best acting, soundtrack, production design, cinematography, and much more. For these TV students, however, the awards are one of the least important aspects of the night, as the opportunity to share an idea they brought to life on screen with their peers is the best award of all. Kaitlyn Philavanh, a senior, showcased one of the first major video projects she has ever worked on, and felt that she was, “most excited about seeing the reactions of an audience that are not necessarily in the program who could give valuable feedback to me as an artist.”

In addition to the films, FOASS featured a string of comedic emcees to give the audience yet another reason to enjoy themselves. Whether it was height jokes, puns, or self-deprecating comments, the emcees had it all, with occasional help from cheering audience members. Films featured in FOASS included a wide range of themes, from philosophical ponderings and meaning-of-life questions to crummy crimes and political commentary. A part of what makes this event so special to its attendees is the ability it gives them to go from crying over a heartbreaking story to crying from laughing so hard at a film filled with pop culture references and dramatic sound effects.

One documentary that truly moved the audience was Transfixed, created by seniors Jared Formanek and Philavanh. Transfixed followed the story of Jessica, a trans woman living in Denver. Though Jessica preferred not to be photographed, it was her voice that told her story of her coming out and struggle with self-image. Formanek shared with the audience, “With the making of Transfixed we were all open to someone’s story who was a complete stranger. Every time I watch the documentary I can see Jessica’s eyes. I can’t show you guys Jessica’s eyes, but everyone who was there can see them. I hope that [this story] is one that you’ll want to share with others.”  

Avree Linee, also a senior, contributed to many of the films shown on Friday, including the film that won Best Overall Picture, 9-5, and a crowd favorite, Toast 3. 9-5 featured the story of a young adult who finds himself taking a late-night drive after being tired of the loneliness that can come from spending time without any friends or family. He has an interesting encounter with a girl he randomly meets at McDonald’s but ultimately finds himself at peace with life. Linee stated that this was the film she was most proud of, as she “worked really hard on it last semester, and this semester when we filmed it, it came together so well. I just really connect to the story and I think other people will too.”

Though the awards are not the main event of the night, as senior Ayden Adair noted, they allow TV students to both be recognized for the dedication they put into the program at Fossil and reflect on their experiences. Adair stated, “Thank you to everyone who has come to watch our films because that is the greatest thing you can give to us.” Fossil alumni who were heavily involved in the TV program reiterated this as they announced awards, with Colby Ripsam commenting, “It’s truly because of the people”, both in the Ridge TV program and outside of it, who make the program phenomenal.

Before Brendan Gallagher, the advisor for Ridge TV, announced the awards for best overall picture, he thanked both his students for their hard work and their parents who “bailed their children out so many times at the last second to make sure productions kept going”. He then added, “I am so blessed to be a part of this,” in what he called the best year of FOASS entries they have ever come across.

Films on a Shoestring is a fantastic time for Fossil students to see what the Ridge TV program works on all year besides producing assemblies. It is a free event and students are encouraged to come for even just a portion of the night to support their peers and appreciate student-made films. For those who missed out this year, many films featured at the event can be viewed on the Sabercat Films Youtube channel, and films that were submitted to but not shown at FOASS will be played in the Roundhouse after school on Tuesday, May 8. A list of the award-winning films can be found below.

Best Supporting Male Actor – Jack Kraus, Toast 3
Best Supporting Female Actor – Megan Bean, Toast 3
Best Music Video, runner-up – Castle on the Hill
Best Music Video – Short Term
Best Documentary – Transfixed
Best Short Film – Rendezvous
Best Production Design – Kylee Rinker, Limbo
Best Sound Design – Ayden Adair and Deionus Bauer, Dab
Best Leading Actor – Grant Deluca, 9-5
Best Leading Actress – Azelan Amundson, 9-5
Best Soundtrack – Carson Reed, Limbo
Best Cinematographer – Ayden Adair
Best Director – Kyle Perlic
Best Picture, runner-up – Limbo
Best Picture – 9-5
People’s Choice Music Video – Moles
People’s Choice Documentary – Transfixed
People’s Choice Short Film – Dab