Student filmmakers from across Berks County gathered at the GoggleWorks Theater Thursday night for the 5th annual Five Minute Film Fest awards ceremony hosted by the Reading Film Office.
The Five Minute FilmFEST is a regional film challenge open to high school students in Berks County. Throughout this unique competition, students have the opportunity to showcase their creativity and compete against their peers. All while vying for trophies, prizes, and recognition.
Actress Janeshia Adams-Ginyard attended the event and presented awards to the students finalists. Adams-Ginyard is an Emmy nominated American actress, stunt performer, sports radio personality, and impact speaker. As a stunt performer, she has gained recognition in Marvel films, including “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “Black Panther”, and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”.
”They [Reading Film Office] are aware that I do a lot of speaking engagement, impact speaking, and motivational speaking, especially for the youth and children. I’m big on inspiring them and letting them know that their dreams are attainable. Through Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, they came across my story and reached out. I’m glad they did!,” Adams-Ginyard said upon being asked to come to the FilmFest.
”My background is in athletics and acting, but then, made the transition doing stunt work. Over the course of thirteen years, I would say the journey has been overwhelming. It’s one that I navigated myself because I made the choice to pursue stunts. I think of it as action acting because I have to keep going until I hear cut,” Adams-Ginyard said about her background in the industry. “I think it’s the perfect kind of parallel for me. Being an athlete and the stunts kind of came very natural to me.”
A few hours before the award ceremony, Adams-Ginyard visited Reading High School to host a virtual assembly for students to speak on journey, career and give advice to students.
In her presentation, she discussed how she entered the industry, navigated its challenges, made sacrifices, pursued multiple roles, and found inspiration. She made it a point to let them know that sacrifices will never outweigh their rewards and success. Students are the future and their success is undeniably significant to it.
”One example I have is, you might not be able to make it to your friend’s party because you have early morning football practice. Five years down the line, when you’re playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, did that really matter?” She said.
The awards ceremony at the Goggleworks Theater showcased the student’s film submissions. Local viewers had the opportunity to watch and appreciate the films created by many students from various school districts. The students all came with different visions, personalities, and ambitions, that truly showed throughout their work.
The event was put together to highlight the students and recognize their talents. Berks County students can enhance their skills and unleash their potential by participating in the Five Minute FilmFEST. Moreover, it is free of charge, making it accessible to young, aspiring filmmakers within the region.
Sophia Horowitz, a senior Governor Mifflin student, was one of the many students who submitted a film. Her film titled “Home,” is about grieving and loss, in the middle of the pandemic. It showcases a girl traversing through the traumatic loss of her mother, all while trying to find her place in a world turned upside-down.
”I grew up really enjoying film. When I realized it was a career option, I knew I had to try it out. I had the opportunity to attend a few summer classes and took it full force,” Horowitz said. She is attending Emerson College in Boston in the fall.
Before the winners were announced, a special Q&A session was held with Adams-Ginyard with questions asked by students. The excitement and thrill of the conversation was unforgettable, and a moment long remembered by the audience. As a prominent figure in the industry, her presence contributed to the prestige of the evening.
“ReadingFilm was ecstatic that Janeshia Adams-Ginyard was available to speak to our student filmmakers at the 5th Annual Five Minute FilmFEST. We were inspired by her dedication and perseverance as she has risen in the entertainment industry. I knew her messages of empowerment and hope for young Black and Brown voices would resonate with the youth in attendance” said Cammie Harris, Executive Director of the Reading Film Office.
The films showcased at the event were truly captivating, but there were three features that stood out from the rest. The filmmakers behind these three films displayed extraordinary creativity and talent, earning recognition and applause from the audience.
First Place was awarded to “Heroes of BCTC” by Harmony Sutherly of Berks Career & Technology Center. Second Place was awarded to “Home” by Sophia Horowitz Governor Mifflin School District. Third Place was awarded to “The Resurgence of Vinyl” by Evangeline Crossley of Fleetwood Area School District.