The Student News Site of Taipei American School




TAS Returns to All American High School Film Festival

The film team poses for a group photo in Central Park. [ERIN WU/THE BLUE AND GOLD]

For the first time since the pandemic started, students of the upper school film production program are finally returning to the All-American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF), an international film invitational held in the heart of New York City. 

The basis of the competition is, ten weeks before the competition, an open-ended prompt that all films must include is released by the festival. This year’s prompt is “What you don’t know”. Students have until the start of the competition to complete ideation, pre-production and any other preparations they wish to have before arriving in New York. The competition is held over the course of two days, where students are expected to film, edit and submit a finished piece to be judged alongside hundreds of other films all created by high school students from around the world. 

Since the start of the school year, a team comprised of ten film students has been in the process of preparing for the festival that will take place in mid-October. “We are well into the pre-production process and we’ve generated a ton of ideas,” Mr. Brett Barrus, one of the team’s producers, said. “We’re definitely getting close to having a story structure that we’re happy with.” After settling on a story, some students then move on to production training, where they get used to the technical aspects of filmmaking, including how to use camera, sound and light equipment. Other students continue to work on the script and development of the story.  

Until the start of the competition, students are not allowed to produce anything that will be used in the final film other than costumes and props since they must adhere to the requirement that all footage is filmed in New York. “Until then, we’re just going to be doing a bunch of rehearsing, running lines and trying different blockings.” Mr. Adrian Town, another producer, said. In order to emulate what the process will be like in New York as much as possible, they are aiming to replicate the kind of spaces they’ll film at and practicing filming the scenes. “This is the first time I’ve done such a long, planned-out film. I’m excited to see how our team will execute that.” Sofia H. (‘25, she/her) said.

As the first time Taipei American School (TAS) students have been able to attend the festival since the COVID-19 pandemic, the film students and advisors alike are all looking forward to the event. “I’m really happy we’re getting back to these events. I think these experiences really galvanize teams and create a lot of excitement that leads into the next year where younger students become the leaders,” Mr. Barrus said. Students are also eager to take part in such a renowned festival.  “I’m a little scared to disappoint, but I’m looking forward to what we come up with.” Aiden H. (‘25, he/him) said. 

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About the Contributor
Erin W. ('25)
Erin W. ('25), Staff Writer
Erin is a staff writer in The Blue and Gold. She is a sophomore at TAS, and is excited to start Journalism to share writing pieces with the community that she, and hopefully others, are passionate about. Outside of writing, Erin enjoys reading, photography and filmmaking.

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