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Festival Named for Student

Arts Council oversees Travis Film Festival competition for high school students.

High school students are encouraged to enter the annual Travis Film Festival competition.

Loudoun Valley High School started it five years ago, but the Loudoun Arts Council took over the event last year.

The film festival is named after Corrin Travis of Purcellville. Travis, a Loudoun Valley High School student, died on New Year's Day after a car accident that occurred in December 2002. Travis participated in the contest during the years that Loudoun Valley High School held it. In his honor the students at the school decided to expand the contest to include other students in the county. The film festival's current name is new for this year and was chosen by high school students at a meeting a few months ago, said Lynda Klein, administrator of Loudoun Arts Council.

STUDENTS WHO WANT to participate in the competition can submit their films in the following categories: drama, comedy and documentary/other. Professional judges will determine the winners. Last year's judges were actor Robert Duval, local photographer Sarah Huntington and J. Matthew Brown, Loudoun Arts Council board member.

The judges will be looking at the camera work, entertainment value, production value and the overall quality of the different films. "Try things, try to make something and see what happens to it. Turn the camera on and do it," Brown said as advice for the film makers.

This year, films will be judged only in the categories they belong to. That means that films from different categories won't be judged against each other as in previous years. Last year there were 12 films competing in the contest. This year Brown said that he hopes it will be double that amount.

The films have to be submitted to the Loudoun Arts Council by Friday, April 30. The public will get to see the films at the Travis Film Festival on May 25, 26 and 27 at area theaters.

The winners will receive cash prizes of between $50- $200. The film makers also have a chance to win the Corrin award, named after Corrin Travis, and $500. The award ceremony will take place on May 28. "It will be similar to a mini-Oscars," Brown said.

THE STUDENTS WRITE and produce the films themselves. They use home video cameras and some of them also have editing equipment at home and can use it to edit their films. The films can be up to 15 minutes long and must include an opening title and closing credits.

Peter Jarvis was last year's winner with the film "The Final Jihad," written by his friend Brian Damewood. At first they didn't know what kind of a film they wanted to do. Finally they did a drama/comedy about two high school boys who find out al Qaeda is hiding out at Dunkin Donuts in Purcellville, Jarvis said.

Jarvis has decided to participate this year too. It will be the third time that he enters the competition. "We are playing with an idea right now. It should really be fun," he said. But there are also some difficulties with producing a film like this: "You always have to think about getting it all together [because] everyone is busy with sports and school," Jarvis said. "I want to pursue film as a career, but right now we do it as fun."

In addition to the film contest, a poster competition will be held. The winning artwork will become the poster for this year's film festival and the winner will receive $100. This competition is also open to high school students in Loudoun County. The artwork has to be submitted to the arts council by Monday, April 12.

For more information about the film festival, the film contest or the poster competition, visit www.travisfilmfest.com.