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Van Hare Takes First Place in Teen Film Competition

Libraries Hold Second Annual Movie Contest

Ashburn resident Holly Van Hare is an award-winning filmmaker. And she’s only 12 years old.

Holly Van Hare took first place in the Second Annual Teen Film Competition Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Ashburn Library.

"I was totally surprised," she said. "It was a lot of hard work, but it paid off. I was really happy."

Christine Leary, teen librarian at the Cascades Library, said Van Hare’s film was one of 14 submissions.

Loudoun County Public Libraries hosted its first Teen Film Competition as part of its summer reading program for teens last year.

The first competition generated some buzz in the community, so librarians decided to host it again.

"We had five more submissions than we did last year, so the second year was bigger and better," Leary said. "It’s just another event for us to try."

"We tried to make one last summer," Holly Van Hare said, "but we didn’t finish in time."

AS SOON AS Holly Van Hare and her brother Nathan, 9, stepped off the airplane from their home in Florida to their father’s house in Ashburn, they began work on the film "Oh, To Fly!"

Nathan Van Hare came up with idea for the film while he and his father worked on an electrical train set. "Oh, To Fly!" is about a train who wishes she could fly like an airplane and how she gets to do that.

"It took me about five minutes to come up with the story," Nathan said. "Then I had to rewrite it four or five times to get the timing right."

Each time Nathan Van Hare handed Holly Van Hare a page to the story, she created the scene on a piece of paper with bright colored markers.

"I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember," she said.

Once she created the scene on a piece of paper, she scanned the pictures onto her father’s computer. Then she scanned them into Adobe Photoshop, which is computer software used to edit images. After she cut out images of blue skies, rolling hills, train trucks and a conductor, she saved the images and laid them on top of one another in another computer program, Flash, which allowed her to set the picture in motion.

Through Flash, Holly Van Hare set the train in motion, made birds fly through the sky and horses gallop in the background.

The same program allowed Holly Van Hare to move images across the computer screen and set the movie to the music "I’ve Been Working on the Railroad."

"I drew hundreds of pictures," Holly Van Hare said, "and I only used about half of them."

FOR THEIR FATHER, Thomas Van Hare, the Teen Film Competition was an opportunity for the family to work on a project all summer long.

"To see a stack of papers turn into a movie," he said. "It’s really something."

While their film took a long time to complete, Holly Van Hare said it was worth it.

"We never thought we were going to win," she said. "We didn’t even know if we were going to finish in time."

Holly Van Hare dedicated the film to the W&OD Trail, a place she likes to ride bikes with her family.