Veterans Memorial High School advanced past Round 1 to the State Quarter Finals in the UIL (University Interscholastic League) Film competition. The narrative film “Empathy,” written and directed by 11th grader Elijah Hernandez, was selected as a Superior Film from among an estimated 950 entries. The films are ranked based on number of sections and entries at the state quarter-finals and at the semi-finals. At the state level, the top six films are selected and shown at the UIL Young Filmmakers Festival to be held March 1 at the Paramount Theatre in Austin.

The film project is part of the VMHS Fine Arts program that offers a Theatre Media course. Students learn and practice all aspects of filmmaking, from writing the script, to blocking the shots, designing the set, lighting, videography, acting and editing. The participating students for this project were, pictured from left, Edney Galvan, Nadia Reyna, Iris Flores, Elijah Hernandez, David Ramos (bottom), Samantha Lira, Valerie Ramirez, and Sebastian Trejo. The judging and ranking leading up to the festival will take place through February 20.

VMHS Theatre & Film Director James A. Hodgson said students started participating in the new UIL category two years ago and have advanced up to the semi-finals.

“They should be proud of their work,” said Hodgson. “They are usually at the top in the area and it is very competitive. We were just starting out.”

The VMHS theatre arts program is also competing in the new event UIL Theatrical Design, and upcoming One-Act Play.