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DCSD graduates focus on bringing back F-Stop Film Festival

HIGHLANDS RANCH – Last weekend’s Academy Awards, probably have a lot of students dreaming about a career in film. An effort to bring back a film festival that started here in DCSD may be just the thing Douglas County students need to make some connections that could one day lead to Hollywood, and who knows—perhaps an Oscar one day.

Mountain Vista High School Graduates Lauryn Guerrieri and Ian Kellett are working to bring back the F-Stop Film Festival. The event that was originally started by Kellett and his father, Jim, when Ian attended MVHS about a decade ago.

The original festival began as a broadcast on Douglas County government’s DC8 cable television station, but grew into much larger event. In addition to screening and awarding student-produced films, festival organizers would bring in industry professionals and college professors to speak and work with the students.

“For the kids that want to really pursue this as a career, it might be hard to learn lightning techniques or camera techniques or maybe they want to act in front of the camera, but don’t really know where to start.  I think it’s good for those people,” Guerrieri said.

She says her goal is to bring back the networking opportunities that the festival provided.

“People were networking and kids were able to ask questions and meet people to work on films or meet teachers that they might possible go to college with,” Guerrieri said.

Jim Kellett a producer a Douglas County’s television (DC8) says it was powerful for students to meet real professionals, working in the industry, right here in Colorado.

“You bring in a local director or someone that is making a living in the industry here and it becomes real. This really can be a job,” said Kellett.

Guerrieri feels the festival was very beneficial for her.  She will graduate from the University of Colorado Denver’s Film School this year and has had a successful production company with Ian Kellett for the past three years, producing commercials and film/television shows. Her professional network began during the F-Stop Film Festival.

“It really is true that the people you meet as a student are who you work with in the future.

Submissions are now being accepted via the F-Stop Festival Facebook page, in the following categories:

  • Best of for Each Genre (Drama, Comedy, Documentary, 3D/other)
  • Best Sound
  • Best Acting (By an Individual or Group)
  • Best Editing
  • Best Producing
  • Best Writing
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Directing
  • Best Film (Wins $300 Cash Prize!!!)

Participants must be Colorado high school students. The work must be their own, under 10 minutes and suitable for an audience 18 years old and under.

“We really want it to be a reoccurring thing every year. We want it to be a solid festival that all high school students can rely on every single year,” Guerrieri said.

Learn more about the F-Stop Film Festival and submit student films at

March 5, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: Communications

District News

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glowing purple lights hover over trays of seedlings in a dark room

It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.