hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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June 5, 2014

Making it 'reel'

Teen filmmakers shine at international competition

Gabriel Waters had a story to tell about his struggle with anxiety.

So he decided to let the world know about it through a short film he titled “The Burden.”

Waters collaborated on the project with his friend and Haverhill High School classmate Jacob Grandmaison. This spring they submitted their film to CineYouth, the student portion of the Chicago International Film Festival. To their surprise and delight, their entry was nominated for best drama.

Although they didn’t win, they said that recognition of their work was ample reward. They also learned a lot about the industry of filmmaking during their recent five-day trip to Chicago to attend the festival.

They paid for their trip with the help of donations they received after creating a GoFundMe account, which they let friends and family members and even teachers know about through Facebook and Twitter.

“People were incredibly supportive of us and what we were doing,” Grandmaison said.

“We knew we could tell a compelling story, but attending the festival showed us what we already know, what we need to learn and how much more there is to get to a better level of storytelling,” Waters said.

The two budding filmmakers met in a TV production class at the high school and found they both had a passion for film making. Both are graduating this month from Haverhill High and they have plans to study film making in college.

“At the festival in Chicago, we attended the opening night screenings that included a question-and-answer session with actor Fred Savage, as well as a master class in filmmaking and producing led by Oscar-winning filmmaker Caryn Capotosto,” Waters said. “She talked about the opportunities she’s had, how she got to where she is and what producing is.”

“The Burden” was one of only five films presented in the drama category at the Chicago competition. At the festival’s awards ceremony, held in May, the categories widened, pitting “The Burden” against many other entries.

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