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CHCA Students' Films Receive Numerous Film Festival Recognition

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy students have gained recognition at several film festivals across the country, most recently with senior Gabe Schmidt earning the Best Young Filmmaker Award at the American Filmatic Arts Awards.


The AFAA presented its awards December 7, 2018 at a banquet in Brooklyn, New York. 17-year old Schmidt was recognized among filmmakers ages seventeen and younger for directing the short film Under Pressure. Schmidt also earned an Award of Recognition in the same category of the Accolade Global Film Competition.

Under Pressure, a film produced by CHCA's Audio/Visual Production class, has been recognized as an official selection in eight total film festivals. It claimed runner-up honors for Best High School Narrative in the My Hero International Film Festival and was also nominated for Best Student Film in both the Branson International Film Festival and the Independent Online Film Festival.


At the Friends4Friends Film Festival in Columbus, OH this past fall, Under Pressure netted top honors for CHCA 2018 grad Josh Braden earning Best Actor and CHCA senior Evan Flagel earning Best Supporting Actor.

The film, which cautions about prescription drug abuse, was co-produced by CHCA senior Malcolm Vanderwoude and CHCA's Audio/Visual Production teacher (and 2001 grad) Adam Cool. Schmidt, Vanderwoude, CHCA senior Matthew Pacheco, and CHCA 2018 grad Steve Jester co-wrote the story. The film was edited by CHCA 2018 grad Jack Bolander, with CHCA 2017 grad Carter Jackson composing the score. All students and recent graduates have been members of Cool's production class.

Meanwhile, A Simple Moment – a film produced by 13 CHCA students this past summer for the Teen Film Challenge – is also earning additional acclaim. It is an official selection in ten film festivals, including the Los Angeles Film Awards, the Los Angeles CineFest, and the Boston International Kids Film Festival. It has also been nominated for Best Student Film in the Branson International Film Festival.


A Simple Moment follows two people who find that the world around them has frozen in time. CHCA's film team produced it in three days for the Teen Film Challenge in Cincinnati, OH, where it won the Audience Choice Award and 2nd place overall. In addition, CHCA senior Ben Paris was named Best Actor.


Schmidt was director of that film as well, and co-wrote it with Vanderwoude, who was also the producer. CHCA senior Trevor Cebulskie served as editor, and Jackson composed an original score. Paris and CHCA senior Claire Wilkins co-starred. Bolander, Flagel, and Pacheco were also actors, as were CHCA sophomore Kate Shields and CHCA seniors Peyton Bach, Kalaya Jones, and Grace Vanderwoude.

Schmidt also continues to gain recognition for The Man with a Plan, a stop-motion animated film he created in 2017. That film won top honors in the Teen Film Challenge, Kids Film It Festival, Maumee Film Festival, and UPIKE Film & Media Arts Festival. It was nominated for Best Animation at the All-American High School Film Festival in New York City, and has been officially selected to 22 festivals.