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Short film draws on performer's experiences

February 8, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

Brady Reichmann and Christian Steinwandt saw their Large Group Speech season end at State Contest at Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Saturday, but gained invaluable through a new medium in Short Film.

"I remember watching a film on Instagram on anxiety that was close to this, so I asked [Steinwandt] if she wanted to something like this," Reichmann said. "That's how we got

Along with the help of DaLynn Pokorny, Andreas Weber, Sable Fehr and Sonja Toulouse, the two students brought their idea into a Short Film for Large Group Speech at Pella on January 26. This was a first for both students, though Steinwandt had participated in Speech the past two seasons. Neither had seen a Short Film at contest, nor did either have much experience with video.

Article Photos

Members of the Short Film group shoot a scene in the hallways of North Tama High School for the production. Photo submitted.

"I've always had interest in cameras and technology," Reichmnn said. "Mr. LaRue worked us through it."

The plot of the film centers around a person waking up to pain of depression and anxiety, "invisible pains" with little or no physical appearance. Steinwandt and Reichmann created the film at school and home over four or five days of filming. Nights were long as they filmed, edited and worked on perfecting their craft.

"That film on Instagram was about anxiety, but there are other invisible illness that are common," Steinwandt said. "We felt people could relate to this film in my ways. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, so I could relate to this. It's hard to show this, but that purpose is to show it still happens."

Both students explained the project felt like a day in school, presenting in front of the class. At Districts, however, the class mainly consisted of three judges critiquing their performance. Despite some admitted procrastination, the Short Film moved on to State for another round with an overall Division I rating, the highest rating possible.

"I was actually surprised because I didn't think we'd make it," Steinwandt said. "We pretty much edited the night before."

The criticisms from the judges helped the students make lots of small changes, including adding scenes, more editing of the audio. It was then time for the group to present their film again at State Speech, where they received an overall Division II rating and did not move on the All-State Festival. Despite not making it to the coveted festival, Reichmann and Steinwandt each agreed this was an enjoyable project despite some pains along the way.

"The process was stressful because we had to get everyone together to work on it," Reichmann said. "Some had homework, sports to do and of course the weather didn't help."

Both students hope to continue doing Short Film in the future, but promise to each other not to procrastinate as much. Steinwandt plans to perform in Individual Speech this season, including Musical Theatre.



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