Student films have a monopoly on award-winning creativity


Leah Allen '22

Sacred Heart Greenwich hosted the twelfth annual Film Festival April 15.

The Sacred Heart Greenwich school community gathered April 15 to celebrate the work of student filmmakers during the twelfth annual Sacred Heart Film Festival.  The festival showcased films produced by a total of 72 students in the Broadcast Journalism program who hoped to remind the school community of the unifying power of art and film after an unprecedented year.

Students in the Broadcast Journalism program collaborated with Ms. Ellyn Stewart P’26, Studio Director and Broadcast Journalism Teacher, Ms. Agatha Ryan ’16, Broadcast Journalism Assistant, and Mr. David Pisani, Broadcast Studio Technical Support Staff, along with Film Festival hosts seniors Delaney Coleman, Isabelle Pipher, and Rachel Keefe to organize this year’s event.  Student organizers designed a Monopoly-themed Film Festival, spending the weeks leading up to festival marketing the event on social media.  The students also hosted a scavenger hunt and ticket-raffle to generate excitement and anticipation within the student body.

While last year’s event was virtual, this year student filmmakers were able to attend the Film Festival in person and showcase their work to a live audience, in accordance with social-distancing guidelines.  The event was also available on a live stream for at-home viewers.  Ms. Stewart praised the students involved in organizing the Film Festival for their innovation and dedication to honoring the school tradition.

Sacred Heart Greenwich alumna Ms. Shannon Longworth ’14 virtually presents awards to student filmmakers in the PSA Category.  Leah Allen ’22

“It is especially important to celebrate the accomplishments of our student filmmakers in this unprecedented year,” Ms. Stewart said.  “Our students thought imaginatively about how to continue the Film Festival traditions while complying with [COVID-19] regulations.  I am very proud of our students for finding creative ways to maintain the spirit of the event and devising innovative ways to engage our audience through social media, the scavenger hunt, raffles, and our first-ever red carpet coverage on @lightscameraheart by Today from the Heart anchors Erin Griffin and Kaitlyn Langer.”

The film festival consisted of a total of 33 films in four separate categories.  There were ten films in the Public Service Announcement (PSA) category, eight films in the Documentary category, seven films in the Experimental category, and eight films in the Creative category.  There was also an Audience Choice category, in which audience members could vote for their favorite films in each respective category.

In the PSA category, senior Olivia Christensen placed second for her film 1-800-273-8255.  What’s Your Emergency by juniors Sarah Boutelle and Cailin Gordon won first place in the same category.  Juniors Charlotte Fallon and Annie Hamilton won second place in the Documentary Category for their film, Pedaling From a Different Perspective and senior Izzy DeVita‘s documentary, Nobu’s Blue Skies, won first place.

Senior Michala Rogers won second place in the Experimental category for her film Pan, and junior Ella Radtke placed first for her film Deep in Color.  In the Creative category, Michala placed second for her film Meet the St. Claires and juniors Isabella Stewart, Rachel Lherisson, and Sophia Flynn won first place for their film 3, 2, 1.

Sarah and Cailin received an audience choice award for their PSA, What’s Your Emergency.  For the other audience choice awards, juniors Dylan Drury and Kaitlyn Langer won in the Documentary category for their film Through the Eyes of a Broadcaster, Ella’s film Deep In Color won in the Experimental category, and Isabelle won for her film Golden Dreaming in the Creative category.

Student organizers chose a Monopoly theme for the twelfth annual Sacred Heart Film Festival.  Courtesy of Michala Rogers ’21

Sacred Heart welcomed four guest judges to determine the winners of each category.  Ms. Katie Murphy, judge of the Documentary Category, spent a total of 16 years working for the National Broadcast Company (NBC) on various programs, including The Today Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.  In 2005, she served as Vice President of Special Services at NBC Universal.

Mr. Stephen Love Jr., judge of the Experimental category, is an Emmy Award-winning producer and co-founder of The Invisible Collectivean organization that aims to boost representation by promoting diverse directors in the advertising and media industries.  Sacred Heart alumna Ms. Shannon Longworth ’14 judged the PSA category, and worked as a multimedia journalist various for local television news stations in Westchester, New York and Monterey, California.  This spring, she will work as an investigative reporter and anchor for Straight Arrow News, a digital startup launching in May 2021.

Ms. Sirad Balducci judged the Creative category.  She is an independent filmmaker who has written, produced, and directed projects that tackle prevalent social justice issues.  Ms. Balducci visited Broadcast Journalism classes this year to speak about her short film, Generation Lockdown, which discusses the psychological effects of gun violence on young children, according to

Charlotte and Annie won second place for their documentary Pedaling from a Different Perspective.  The documentary tells the story of a man named Mr. Kyle Bryant and his unique experience as a bicyclist while living with a rare genetic disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia.  Charlotte believes that film has the power to bring people together and shared the personal significance that the annual Film Festival has for her.

“Film and movies are a great way to tell stories and connect people,” Charlotte said.  “The Film Festival is truly one of my favorite Sacred Heart traditions as it showcases and celebrates all of the amazing work the Broadcast Journalism and filmmaking students produce throughout the year.  The event is able to bring the community together, in person or virtually, during these hard times.”

Featured Image by Leah Allen ’22