“On the Big Screen”

The film department showcases student work at Streaming Canvas film festival


Lexi Critchett

On screen, theatre junior Ryan Lamontagne walks to his car as part of the film he starred in, “When I Look in Your Eyes.”

Jenna Lee, Copy Staffer

Since the pandemic, seeing movies in the theater has become a rare experience. But on Friday, June 4, the film department put on its annual festival Streaming Canvas, which showcases films that students have made throughout the year.

Streaming Canvas is the result of a collaborative effort from the Film Association and film teacher Ruby Hernandez. This year, 23 films were shown in genres ranging from slapstick comedy, to documentary, to classic horror. The event, held in Meyer Hall – with moviegoers socially distanced and masked – allowed student filmmakers to walk a red carpet and see their art come to life outside of a Google Meet screen.

Digital senior Milan Tangirala and visual senior Morgan Jourdin pose for pictures on the red carpet. Photo by Lexi Critchett.

“Having [the showcase] in the theater makes it so much better,” communications junior Kamryn Bailey said. “Seeing your film on that big screen is one of the best feelings in the world.” 

Last year, the film department scheduled Streaming Canvas to be on Friday, March 13. That same day, the district ordered schools to close for two weeks due to concerns of the pandemic. They had to cancel the event, and were unsure if they were going to have it in-person this year. However, as the school started to allow more in-person performances, they were granted approval to hold the event. 

“I was so excited,” said communications senior and film association president Sonali Vijay. “I feel lucky that we were able to do something. Before Covid, I took going to events […] for granted. [Now] we recognize what we’ve lost and we’re trying to not take anything for granted.”

Students of all majors were welcomed to submit films to Streaming Canvas, though the majority come from film students who work throughout the year to build their portfolio. Submissions this year were delayed as students faced obstacles shooting during the pandemic. Once the films were submitted, Mrs. Hernandez picked which ones would be shown at the event.  

“Logistically, this was a nightmare of a year,” Mrs. Hernandez said. “I was worried coming in this year that we weren’t going to have a lot of films being made. But students were creative, so we have more films than I thought we were going to have. I’m very proud.” 

After the films had been shown, the two film association presidents, Vijay and communication senior Caleb Harris, got on stage with bouquets to show their appreciation for both Mrs. Hernandez and the department’s artist in residence and film association alumni Roberto Torres. Both students spoke about the impact being in the department had on their lives. 

“I would not be who I am today without Mrs. Hernandez,” Vijay said. “I owe so much to her. She was always someone I turned to, and she was a confidant for me – someone I always looked up to as a filmmaker and as a teacher and as a person. Allowing everybody else to hear how amazing she is was really important.”

Communications senior Caleb Harris talks on stage about how film teacher Mrs. Hernandez and artist in residence and film association alumni Roberto Torres have impacted his life. Photo by Lexi Critchett.

As students filed into the event, they laughed and embraced their friends as they took photos on the red carpet. Applause could be heard after the conclusion of each short film as family and friends appreciated the work done by the artists over the past year.

“[Streaming Canvas] is about celebrating everybody’s work,” Bailey said. “We all work so hard on our films and a lot of times it goes unnoticed. I’m happy this year they made it possible.”

Having an in-person event meant student filmmakers were able to see their films on the “big screen,” an experience that Mrs. Hernandez’s film students strive for.

“Having your film on a big screen is a different experience,” Mrs. Hernandez said. “Having surround sound and a huge screen changes the way you look at your film. You watch it on your phone and it’s small. Then you watch it on a larger screen, and it’s bigger than you – literally and figuratively.”