Laguna Beach student Jack Winter’s film “Don’t Blow It” won an award in the Leaders of Environmental Action Films contest by getting the most likes on Facebook. The film was screened as part of the youth film showcase at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Sunday.
His 61-second film follows a plastic bottle discarded by a careless teenager into a creek and bobs into the ocean, illustrating the effects of human action on the natural environment. The student director is hopeful his film makes an impact on his audience.
“I think that it showed them what really happens, where it actually goes. It doesn’t all go to the landfill. It goes to the ocean we all swim in, and pollutes everything. This allowed me to tell people that their actions do mean something. They are destroying the ocean everyday. If we keep up with what we’re doing it will turn into a big landfill. We need to find someway to get people to stop.”
Winter is as intrigued with the process as its message. “I love film making. I want to be a director one day. I will just see how far I can get.”
He seems to be on track, with his second film festival appearance by age 15. The sophomore at Laguna Beach High School took second place last year in the film contest sponsored by the Laguna Beach-based nonprofit, My Hero. Winter hopes for admission to Chapman University’s film school.
Winter wrote, shot, edited, and directed the film, which was shot near his home in Bluebird Canyon and at the beach where the creek meets the ocean. The film’s exceptional production values come from use of dolly shots and underwater scenes. Friend Austin Silvers lent him a water housing for his camera, a Sony HDR-AX2000. Silvers took third in the same contest last year for a similar film that traced the path of a discarded cigarette to the ocean.
“It was definitely different than shooting on land,” said Winter of his first experience filming in the ocean.
The $225 prize money will go towards gear, such as the camera crane Winter covets. “That can open up a whole new way of shooting,” he said.
Winter looks up to filmmakers such as Laguna local Justin Ostensen, who allowed the student to accompany him on a commercial photo shoot for Nike. “He’s done everything from music videos to TV series. Now he’s working on a feature film about migration of butterflies.”
Though Winters isn’t developing any new projects currently, he is learning how to produce 3D animation integrated with live action in his LBHS film class. “It can be frustrating at times but the final output is really cool,” he said.