Senior is a finalist for film award

Howland student made commercial about day at school

HOWLAND — High school senior Bobby Webber will find out later this month if a commercial he created in his multimedia class wins a Golden Lion Film Award.

Webber, 18, is among 20 finalists for the Golden Lion, which is awarded during the Golden Lion Film Awards festival in Cincinnati.The Golden Lion Film Awards has high school and middle school students from 12 Midwest states and locations within 500 miles of Cincinnati competing in it.

The Golden Lion Film Awards is run by The Underground Academy of Cinematic Arts, an arts and education nonprofit dedicated to helping students tell stories through film, media and broadcast. This year, the festival will be April 27 and 28, and Webber does plan to attend.

The two-day festival shows the students’ work at the Esquire Theater on April 27 and awards are announced on April 28 in Memorial Hall.

“It came out of nowhere because they were like, ‘oh yeah, we’ll let you know if you placed or anything.’ And we didn’t think that it would just be like, oh, you’re in the top 20 just to let you know. It was a huge shock and I was really happy. I am looking forward to going down to see if I won anything or not. Even if I don’t, it’s nice to know that I’m in the top 20,” Webber said.

Webber worked on his commercial entitled “Every Kid, Every Day” in his multimedia class taught by Howland High School teacher Brian O’Dell. Webber spent approximately a week-and-a-half working on his commercial between writing a script, filming, producing and editing. He did receive some assistance from O’Dell on the script and a classmate helped by operating audio equipment while he filmed.

“I think it’s very well done, and that’s one of the things that we strive for. We’re not expecting MGM studios, but we want it to look as professional as possible. And that is why these projects get submitted into things like Golden Lion,” O’Dell said.

“Every Kid, Every Day” is a commercial spotlighting public schools through the lens of Howland High School. The commercial is about a minute long and Webber said it is trying to counteract the negative feelings toward public schools by showing a glimpse of what happens during a normal day at Howland. He said he was inspired by private school advertising campaigns and felt there was not a public school equivalent.

“It’s a message that we did to help promote Howland schools. The school district loves it, and it’s something that can be used in a lot of different capacities. And that’s what’s important. And that’s why we did it,” said O’Dell. “We wanted to get the message out to the community that it’s not just about the school, it’s about everybody around the school. It’s the community. It’s a very powerful message about what’s going on in public education.”

Webber is the first Howland High School student to enter the Golden Lion Film Awards. O’Dell posts contests on the multimedia class website, letting students select any contest they want to enter. He gives the students the chance to work on them in class as assignments. In the multimedia class, O’Dell teaches students how to use multimedia equipment and programs, allowing them to pick where they want to focus. Webber chose film and completed mostly film projects during his two years in the class.

“I’ve always been fascinated with movies and TV and all the stuff that goes on behind it. So when I started taking this class, it was a big eye opener to what went into everything,” Webber said. “I ended up falling in love with it, this is what I really enjoy doing.”

In addition to being entered in the Golden Lion Film Awards, Webber is entered in the Courageous Persuaders Video Scholarship Competition, All American Film Festival and in the Student Production Awards.

He also is working with classmates on a public service announcement about drug abuse for the Trumbull Ashtabula Group PSA Contest. Webber is part of Howland High School’s live production team and a member of Paws with a Cause, a volunteer group benefiting shelter animals.

After his spring graduation, Webber plans to study multimedia at Eastern Gateway Community College for two years before transferring to Youngstown State University to continue his multimedia studies.