Teen filmmakers win at film festival

Positive media and media literate students. That’s our goal, right?
That’s why I am pleased to relaunch the blog with this inspiring story.

Reading High School senior Vanessa O’Connor, along with her team, Violet Tacito of Reading High and Anna Cuevas of Wakefield High produced their first movie, “Lies and Ties,” for the Massachusetts Flash Film Festival.  Vanessa and Violet also act in the movie.

And now they can call themselves award-winning filmmakers.

To compete in the contest, teams come to the kick off on a Thursday night to draw their genre assignments. They have until the next Sunday night – 3 days – to turn in the completed movie. All of the movies are then shown the following weekend at a premiere event at a big, old-style movie theater.

Hence the term “Flash Film.” It’s a fairly intense process.

“We learned more in 72 hours than I did in four years in the club at the high school,” Vanessa said. I reached her at RCTV – the Reading cable access station, through which the high school runs its club. “It all came down to working as a team.”

The team, which calls itself Urban Youth, won second place in the Beginner category for their five-minute film.

Angela Merrill, education coordinator at the RCTV, who provided guidance and also had a cameo in the film, said that the important thing for teens to learn through creating media is that “your voice is just as important as anybody else’s voice.”

In her work at RCTV, Ms. Merrill said, she helps kids to talk about things they are seeing and hearing everyday, and guides them through the process of telling their own stories.

“It helps them to take these steps into adulthood and maturity on their own. It’s a powerful thing.”

So what was Vanessa thinking when her film was up on the big screen?

Anna Cuevas, Vanessa O’Connor, Violet Tacito

“We just wanted to be on the same skill level,” she said. “My fear was that everyone would be awesome and we would be lagging behind. When I saw ours was in the same ballpark, I was relieved. Until then I was very nervous.”

Take a look and enjoy.


  1. Hence started the burgeoning of Indian Film industry and the growth of its caliber to continue doing so.

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