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Park School

IC Student Wins Cellflix Contest

Mike Potter '07 with his winning cell phone/camera
Mike Potter '07 with his winning cell phone/camera

Forget that bulky camcorder and tripod. Films can now be shot on razor-thin cell phones. IC junior Mike Potter filmed Cheat, a 30-second movie about his grandparents’ loving and playful relationship, on his phone and won the grand prize of $5,000 in the Park School–sponsored Cellflix contest.

Potter, a Park scholar and triple major (television-radio, business administration, and computer information systems), was sitting across from his grandparents at the dinner table one evening over the holidays. “I saw something in their interactions that interested me,” Potter says. He decided to videotape them with his cell phone.

Potter says one of the challenges of producing the movie was that he could only take 15-second clips, which he then had to e-mail from his cell phone to his computer, where he edited and added music. Nonetheless, he believes there is a future in all-phone films: “The future lies in personal media players, things you can take with you on the go.”

Cellflix is the first annual film festival for movies shot on cell phones. It was open to high school and college students.

“Its goal was to challenge students to think creatively about mobile content delivery, and to establish the Park School as a place that ‘gets it’ when it comes to mobile delivery,” says Dianne Lynch, dean of the Park School.

Out of 178 entries 10 finalists were selected, including four from IC, by a panel of faculty members from the television-radio and cinema and photography departments at the College. The finalists were announced on Good Morning America in late January.  Professional filmmaker Rodrigo Bellott ’01 and David Lebow ’83, executive vice president and general manager of AOL Media Networks, chose Potter as the grand prize winner.

Media interest in the contest was more enthusiastic than Lynch had anticipated. “It's a real reflection of the degree to which we are still in that ‘gee whiz’ stage of technology integration in American culture,” she says. “It was a clever idea, but it wasn’t the kind of major breakthrough that the level of media attention suggested.”

Cellflix was recognized in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Times, the Associated Press, Newsday, the Houston Chronicle, the Boston Globe, and CNN.com. Reuters Television and NPR’s Morning Edition crafted features on the contest. Lynch was even interviewed on a Japanese radio station, and an article appeared in the Guardian in England.

See all 10 finalist films at www.cellflixfestival.org.



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