Walking the red carpet is customary for actors and filmmakers in Hollywood.
That's usually in California, but the local namesake recently hosted Hooray for Hollywood, an evening that honored student filmmakers and local schools at the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center.
At a city meeting last year, Mayor Peter Bober expressed an interest in promoting Hollywood's middle and high schools. With help from the Hollywood Education Advisory Committee, Bober challenged students to create five-minute films to promote their respective schools and put up the funds for the first-ever Hooray for Hollywood Public Schools Film Festival and Contest.
"Any of Hollywood's public and charter schools were invited to participate," said Donna Greene, the committee's vice chairwoman.
Apollo Middle, Attucks Middle, the Quest Center, McArthur High, South Broward High and Hollywood Hills High participated. Faculty and administration at the respective schools chose students to create and narrate the films.
"So many people don't know what's happening inside the schools," Greene said. "It's important for schools to brag about their assets. We hope that the schools that created these films use them as tools."
The films were judged based on how well and creatively they portrayed a school's curriculum, campus, extracurricular activities and overall message, and conducted interviews with students and teachers.
Zak Myers helped create the film for South Broward High.
"In my video, I tried to highlight the magnet programs at the school, academics, award-winning athletics and amazing diversity that the school has," said Myers, who's had an interest in filmmaking since sixth grade.
He said creating a five-minute film wasn't as easy as it seemed, as the project took about 30 hours to complete.
"Trying to highlight the just over 2,000 students, more than 100 years of history and all the great programs that the school has is extremely hard to captivate in only five minutes," Myers said.
Myers' hard work paid off, though, as the film took the first place $500 award at the festival.
"Producing these films from each of Hollywood's schools is important because it gives students the opportunity to express their talents through documentation, journalism and filmmaking," Myers said. "I'm now able to add an experience like this to my resume while the school will be able to gain positive publicity."
Hollywood Hills High received the $150 runner-up prize in the high school category while Attucks Middle and the Quest Center were the runner-up and first-place winner at the middle school level, respectively.
To see the student films, visit http://www.hollywoodfl.org and click on the Hot Items tab.
Sara Shell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.