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Hillcrest Filmmaker Aims to Repeat Big Win At CSD Film Festival

Hillcrest High filmmaking phenom David Skorut envisions a golden future on the silver screen. Armed with ideas, enthusiasm and a camera, Skorut, who has already garnered acclaim for his cinematic skills, is unabashed about his goals to become the next Steven Spielberg, James Cameron or Michael Moore.

Asked what kind of films he wants to wants to make, Skorut, who is hard at work on his entry for the 2015 Canyons District Film Festival, pauses a moment, then says, “I really enjoy narrative filmmaking, so that may be something I would like to do,” he says. But don’t count on him being tied to major studio, special-effect-laden, shoot-’em-up films with contrived plotlines and unrealistic lines of script.

Speaking in showbiz terms that belie his age, Skorut says he’s intent on maintaining “creative control” so it’s likely documentaries or independent films will indeed be his directorial niche. “I hear they aren’t super-nice in Hollywood,” he says with a laugh.

Skorut, a Sterling Scholar finalist in the Skilled and Technical Sciences Education category, is a perennial winner at the CSD Film Festival, held each spring to cast a spotlight on the movie-making skills of CSD students and teachers.

In 2012, he and four friends won the Secondary Feature Film category with “The Crime.”  In 2013, he won with a public service announcement about the dangers of driving and texting, and the Secondary Feature Film with a short film called “FWD: Forward.” 

One of his favorites, though, is the documentary “The Burrito Project: SLC,” which captured the 2014 award for Best Secondary Documentary. The film, which was done by Skorut and friend Nicholas Cockrell focuses on an initiative to feed the homeless in Salt Lake. 

Skorut hopes his name will again be called during the ceremony to announce this year’s winners. The 6th annual Canyons District Film Festival will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 16 at Eastmont Middle, 10100 S. 1300 East. Categories include advertising, feature film, documentary, animation, public-service announcement, newscast and teacher film. The winning films will be available for viewing on the website after the ceremony. 

The deadline for entries for this year’s festival is 5 p.m. Thursday, March 19. 

Skorut is not worried about finishing his still-untitled film by the submission deadline. He’s completed about six hours of filming and plans to spend several more hours in post-production. He also encourages students who have never entered to simply pick up a camera, capture some images and sound, and tinker with commonly used editing programs to cobble together an entry.

“You can make one in a few hours,” he says. “The whole experience is about how to get better. Of course, there’s a competitive part to it, as well, but even if you’re pulling together something last minute, you still have a chance.”

See the CSD Film Festival website to watch the previous years’ winners.

Can’t come to the festival? Follow the action on Twitter @CSDFilmFestival.

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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