‘The Barn’ places in UIL Filmmakers Festival semifinals


Courtesy of Justin Lovell

Logan Giles and Sarah Gilliland film a scene for “The Barn.”

As the director frames the shot, the actors prepare to recite their lines. The lighting crew takes their places and silence ensues on the set. The director yells “action,” and the filming of senior Justin Lovell’s award-winning short film, “The Barn,” continues.

Lovell’s student film, “The Barn” placed qualified for the semifinals of the 2016-17 UIL Young Filmmakers Festival. Lovell’s 7-minute thriller placed within the top 30 films of the state-wide competition.

“This is the third year that the contest has taken place and I didn’t know about it until this year,” Lovell said.“I figured that this is my senior year so I should try to make a name for myself and be remembered for something. Considering that some of the productions in this competition were using professional grade equipment and actors, I think our film did exceedingly well since we were filming in a barn with mostly inexperienced student actors.”

The 2016-17 UIL Young Filmmakers Festival reviewed over 950 films within the first round of judging. Lovell said he was able to make his film stand out by studying the filming techniques of successful directors.

To make the film look as good as Justin did with the resources we had is an amazing achievement.

— Logan Giles, 12

“The director that influenced my movie the most is probably David Fincher,” Lovell said. “I tried to channel a lot of Fincher’s dark and moody shadows and the way he moves his camera. Fincher has this idea that no one is perfect, so the protagonist is not necessarily a morally good character. I feel like this idea really shines through in my movie.”

Junior cinematographer of “The Barn”, Nathan Solomon said he is glad to have worked with the individuals that helped to produce the film.

“Our film is about this evil guy who kidnaps girls and kills them. The main character’s, girlfriend got captured and killed by the villain, so the movie becomes a kind of a revenge story,” Solomon said. “Sarah Gilliland plays Abi, Logan Giles plays Logan, the protagonist, Abi Dillehay plays Gwyn and Maverick Evans plays Victor, the villain of the film. Justin and I did the planning together, but he was the writer. I was the cinematographer and I just did all of the things needed like lights, setting up shots. Working with high school students was difficult at times, but it was also very enjoyable.”

Giles, who plays the protagonist of Lovell’s film said he is pleased with the results of the competition.

“The film turned out far better than any expectations I had,” Giles said. “Justin’s directing and the shots he took made up for a lot of inexperience from me and the other actors. To make the film look as good as Justin did with the resources we had is an amazing achievement.”

Lovell said that the benefits of working with friends from high school far outweigh the difficulties.

“It’s great to work with people like the members of the Purple Posse who are willing to work lighting and have the time of their lives while doing it,” Lovell said. “Making this movie was the best experience of my life when it comes to working with people and it shows me that this is what I want to be doing with my life.”