Testimonials: Alumni Spotlight
See the testimonials below from former Challenge participants
You can submit YOUR alumni story, anytime! Just click HERE.
Alexa Bonsera, 2017 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Erased" (2016)
Alexa is currently a Freshman studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film/Video at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.
A little over a year ago, she graduated from the "Newstudies" program hosted by KYW Newsradio and CBS 3 Eyewitness News at their studios in center city, Philadelphia with an award of recognition. Shortly after, her video entry, "Saving with Cash" placed in the top 3 of the regional division for the "Lights, Camera, Save!" video contest.
Aside from producing films for projects at UArts, more recently, she has worked as an assistant event videographer and video editor for a local production company in South Jersey. She was also newly hired by her uncle, Anthony Bonsera, who is a professional musician, to produce videos for the "Los Angeles Classic Rock Orchestra," -or- 'LACRO' - based out of Hollywood, CA.
This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ3XE88V01M slideshow-music video was produced for the LACRO opening show. The orchestra performed two albums by the The Beatles at their concert: "Abbey Road", and "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band." Each video was played on a projector; edited to the songs as they were played live. Mr. John Kosh, the creative director behind famous album covers, like Abbey Road, was in attendance. These are meant to be reminiscent of what you'd see on big screens at concerts in even larger venues for acts like Billy Joel, or Fleetwood Mac.
From Alexa: The 10 Day Film Challenge means a lot to me because of what it taught me as I realized I wanted to be in this business. I learned that especially in a creative industry, following directions, working together with a crew, and meeting strict project deadlines are some of the most crucial skills I would need to conquer. The challenge of working through those guidelines helped my group think more as a team and forced me to think and work outside of my usual comfort zone. Every project that I have worked on since the 10 day, where I am interacting and working on a deadline, I've used what I learned: time management, pushing the imagination a little farther, listening to feedback from fellow crew members and audience, the list goes on. I am forever grateful that my school gave me the opportunity to enter in the 10 Day Film Challenge.
Courtney Terr, 2017 HS Graduate, PA
My 10 Day Film Challenge movies: Code Yellow, and The Adventures of Mega Master and Teeny Boy
Courtney is currently studying Advertising at S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University and Marketing at The Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.
She is currently involved in a student-run short film production studio called Ottonomous Productions. She worked as Assistant Director for a film titled "The Gazebo", served as Art Director for "Death of a Bachelor", and as Assistant Director for "Devin Uses Time"
"The Gazebo" short film: She worked as Assistant Director. This film was shot as a part of the Short Bonanza weekend where a three-minute film must be filmed and edited within one weekend.
From Courtney: The 10 Day Film Challenge helped me as a filmmaker and challenged me to shorten my films. I always fall into the same habit of making my films too long, but the 10 Day Film Challenge helped me to write short, more concise scripts. It also helped me understand the production process better and work more efficiently on film sets.
Thomas Olszewski, 2017 HS Graduate, NY
My 10 Day Film Challenge movies: Dream Girl, Sidekick For Hire
Thomas is attending St. John's University majoring in Television and Film. He runs his own video production company - 1999 Video & Design. Currently he is working as a PA for Macguffin, a production company in NYC. and recently worked on Spielbergs's "The Post" as a Production Assistant. He is making all of the videos that he can.
See this recent short horror film that Thomas has made.
From Thomas: The 10 Day Film Challenge was always such a blast when it came around every year, and it always let me prove myself as a filmmaker in general.
Caroline Brophy, 2017 HS Graduate, PA
My 10 Day Film Challenge movies: Detention (2016); Committed (2017)
Caroline is currently studying for a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Film, Photography and Visual Arts at Ithaca College. Currently, she is continuing to make films for class projects as well as assisting on other shoots that take place on campus.
Caroline's recent work: A mockumentary created for a senior project before graduation.
From Caroline: The 10 Day Film Challenge for me meant learning how to work with other people on a tight deadline. When you only have 10 days to make a film you don't have time to disagree with your co creators. I learned to listen and be open to others ideas and that compromise is an important part of the creative process.
Nick Suriano: 2017 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge movies: Erase to the Past (National Champion), Love at Second Sight (National Champion)
Nick is currently running his own production company, freelance editing, and running his own YouTube channel.
Since graduation, Nick is focusing on his own YouTube channel and creating short films. He's made some successful films and other content (tutorials and performances) for his channel and social media. Currently, his YouTube channel has over 36,500 subscribers with over 2.2 million views. He was recently featured on MTV, on Rob Dyrdek’s new show “Amazingness”, and also collaborated with several top Youtube creators and channels in the field. In 2017, he was selected by YouTube as 1 of 20 creators to watch in the US and Canada and graduated their “Next Up” program. He also edits for several popular YouTube creators while shooting and editing content for his sponsors.
His YouTube Channel: youtube.com/nicsuriano
His Instagram: @nic_suriano
“Images” short film, Winner of NJHS film festival, and shown in several festivals around the country: https://youtu.be/gMoW6Ljx5o4
From Nick: The 10 Day Film Challenge showed me that there are so many other people that share my passion for creating, and if you put in the work anything is possible.
Brittany Albis: 2016 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge movies: All That Is Written; Never Let Go (National Finalist); Fleeting
Brittany is a freshman majoring in Cinema and Photography with a focus in film editing at Ithaca College, a Top 25 Film School.
Currently, her Cinema Production 1 class gives her the opportunities to create films with certain focuses, but mostly creating her own, independent work is her primary goal.
This film is her first project as a college student.
From Brittany: The opportunity to participate in the 10 Day Film Challenge for three years in a row was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me. It gave me an even stronger drive to pursue the industry and really want to perfect all my film techniques and be able to go to the screening, which I was fortunate to do every time. I never regretted any decision I made for a film, and it honestly doesn't even matter what place you come in. It's that feeling that you get when you know that filmmaking is for you... is what makes it all worthwhile, especially as a high school student.
Seth Renk: 2015 HS Graduate, PA
My 10 Day Film Challenge movie: Time Crisis
Seth is currently a freelance video editor for several small scale youtubers, independent films, and still creates his own videos. According to Seth, he can make a decent living off of it with a part time job but is living the 'starving artist' dream.
Here are some of his current projects:
An actor in the anime convention Metrocon in the Fantasy Masquerade as Adam the Black Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, and created most of the videos for it.
Assisted with a gaming called JuegaLibre making comedy sketches with them.
Worked as an editor for a channel called SuperUnknownPerson recreating Power Rangers visual effects. .
From Seth: "The 10 Day Film Challenge was my first gate way into the "competitiveness" of this industry. I had always loved film, and will continue doing it for myself. I was told I was good at it too. Through the 10 Day Film Challenge I was humbled. I realized I am good, but not perfect. I need to keep bettering myself. I need to focus on what I want to do in film, right now it seems like it's editing.
"I haven't made any big film projects, etc. It's not about that. No matter who you are, no matter what you're doing in your life. If you have a passion for film, if you go out of your way to make videos. Even in they are the worst things in your eyes. You are successful. Because you are a filmmaker."
Eamon Kelly: 2016 HS Graduate, PA
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movies: Don't Question It; The Speech.
Eamon is currently a freshman at Ithaca College, majoring in Film, Photography and Visual Arts.
Although he has already graduated from high school, he is still connected with his high school's youth media organization, Rough Cut Media, as a media specialist. There, they manage the Rough Cut Film Festival in Philadelphia to create a vertical film community from high school to university to independent filmmakers to the professional industry.
"The 4-Year Reflection" can be thought of as his first and last high school film. Since he started high school in Fall 2012, he decided to film his class' entire high school experience from 9th to 12th grade. According to Eamon, the film is basically a love letter to a school that helped him grow as a person.
From Eamon: "The 10 Day Film Challenge meant a lot to me because it was the moment my film talents started to shine. I've always known that I have keen and interesting instincts when it comes to filmmaking, but when I was a finalist in PA two years in a row, and was nominated for several awards, it was clear that I was on the right track. My work was finally getting recognized and appreciated and shown on big screens.
"One of the few reasons why I put myself behind a camera was to put a barrier between myself and the world since I didn't think that I was that important. However, I somehow went from taking my father's camera as a child without asking to using professional film equipment in high school. I could tell that filmmaking was the thing I care the most about. Also, the friends and mentors I've met through film means a lot to me. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and I have a severe speech disfluency which are both very frustrating, but everyone that I've worked with has really supported me for years, and I can't thank them enough."
Eric Bolkart: 2016 HS Graduate, NY
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Stephen Beck vs. Christmas". New York.
Eric is currently going to Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) to become a Video Arts and Technology Major.
He's currently making a short film called Blood Sugar Sex. It is a dark dramatic film that he's making for two film festivals. He is the writer, director, executive producer and also supporting actor in this short film. He's working with a couple of colleagues who also worked with him in the 10 Day Film Challenge.
VESSEL (CLICK HERE) is a short film he made for his final project in high school. According to Eric, it is about 3 delinquent boys who cause destruction and mayhem everywhere they go. They decide they want to want break into a house and mess around with a frail kid they know and steal his money. But their actions leave huge consequences when certain things cant be reversed.
From Eric: "The 10 Day Film Challenge meant a lot to me as a writer, director, and actor. It was the first time I saw myself on the big screen which is a huge deal to me. It also made me connect with my friends more working with them. It sealed the deal for me when I said I wanted to be a filmmaker for life. It's all about the passion and the ambition you set for yourself.
"It's all about passion, determination and the ambition. I don't create films because there is money or fame involved in the business, I do it because I like it. And everyone should live by those standards. When I write a dramatic story it usually comes from a traumatic experience I've had or a dark time I've gone through. So while writing dramatic stories I turn the worst parts of my life into the best part of my life making the film. "
Ryan Quindlen: 2012 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Live and Let Disco" 2012 NJ STATE CHAMPION. Click HERE.
Ryan recently graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in Interdisciplinary Business. He is currently working full-time for OFC: Office Channel, a creative services company that develops video and promotional content for companies like PepsiCo, AT&T, and Olive Garden.
When he's not developing concepts for clients, he writes and shoots a video series for OFC's channel that is distributed weekly to over 500 industry executives. In his spare time he writes and records original music and hopes to one day write, direct, and compose an entire film himself.
From Ryan: "The 10 Day Film Challenge taught me that personality and passion dominate in film. It's all about telling a story, your story, and the technical details are just a part of that. If you make it yours and really express your original vision, it doesn't matter how expensive your camera is.
I'd like to thank Mr. McCleery from GCIT for not only teaching me how to use a camera, but for teaching me that film is expression, first and foremost. He taught me to not let technical ability stand in the way of what it is you want to make. Someone can always teach you how to use Final Cut, but nobody can tell you what kind of film to make. Be original, and make sure you're having fun."
Check out www.ofc.tv for a quick look at some of his projects his company is working on.
Jonathan Cooper: 2015 HS Graduate, PA
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "They're Watching" 2015. Click HERE.
Jonathan is currently enrolled as a Freshman BS Television and Film major at Hofstra University. He is currently a cast member and writer for Hofstra's local television show Thursday Nite Live. CLICK HERE to watch.
He is also in talks to create a radio show for WHRU, the #1 college radio station in the country.
I am also a member of Hofstra's film club, where I have used the skills I learned in the 10 Day Film Challenge to submit a short film to their 48 hour Film Project.
From Jonathan: "The 10 Day Film Challenge was my first chance to experience what it was like to work with a team to make a movie in a professional atmosphere. It was hard, it was stressful, it took a great deal of sacrifice and it caused a lot of conflict. And above all, it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. The feeling that I got when I had finished the film and it was chosen to be screened drove me to seek out the challenge of film making for the rest of my life. Best of all, I will be able to count my film making team among my close friends for a long time to come."
Nicolette Norton: 2013 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "25 Cents" 2013. Click HERE.
Nicolette is currently enrolled at Pace University in New York City as a Film and Screen Studies major. She also had the experience of taking a wonderful Summer Conservatory at the Michael Howard Studios that centered on acting. She also works at the Paleycenter, which is an establishment created by William S. Paley (the former head of CBS) that focuses on preserving early television and radio programs.
Currently, she's taking a lot of film analysis classes—Film History, the Art of Film, Film theories, etc. During her previous semesters she had many production classes that ranged from 16mm to Digital TV Production.
See a couple of her short films:
THIS FILM looks at the effects of repetition within one's life.
THIS FILM explores what happens when you can't run away from yourself.
From Nicolette: "The 10 Day Film Challenge was a great exercise that allowed me to begin to flourish as a filmmaker! It was wonderful to have a forum to create various films. I always loved being able to employ my creative skills. It definitely kept me sharp for college."
Gabrielle Pullia: 2013 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "It's Not Easy Being Me". 2011. Click HERE.
Gabrielle is a student at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business studying Marketing and Operations Management.
While she doesn't formally film any longer, the skills that she developed while working on her 10 Day Film Challenge have helped her tremendously. According to Gabrielle, they have allowed her to create marketing materials for many class projects, develop videos promoting clubs on campus, and even create videos for her sororities recruitment. Groups on campus are always looking for students who can take a vision and turn it into a video, plus it is a great way to get involved with a lot of different organizations. Additionally, she has taken film classes at school as electives, so even if you don't plan on pursuing a career in film, it can always be a fun hobby.
From Gabrielle: "The 10 Day Film Challenge was a great way to learn how to work with people in a timed environment. The planning, creativity, and team work that goes into every film are great life skills to have, plus it was extremely fun to end up with a movie as the final product! I loved the 10 Day and have made sure to keep film (and final cut pro) a part of my life through college!
Alec Dakin: 2014 HS Graduate, PA
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Sketcher" 2014. *Challenge Champion. Click HERE.
Alec is currently enrolled in Boston University working on a Film & TV Major and Philosophy Minor. Last year, he worked as an intern at Bristol Studios across the street from Berklee School of Music where he worked on various music videos and projects.
From Alec: "The 10 Day Film Challenge showed me the team work and collaboration required to produce high quality work. It was an incredible learning experience that affirmed my ambitions to pursue a degree in Film & TV."
See some of Alec's recent work:
This is an artist spotlight he produced for a local featured musician.
Here is a gun violence PSA he produced for a Communications class.
Erik Berling: 2013 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "25 Cents". 2013. Click HERE.
Erik is a Junior at Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL. He is a Multidisciplinary major studying ministry and film production.
He has had many opportunities in film since he graduated from high school. He became a scholarshiped videographer for his university. Through that job, he was able to film college sporting events (Football, Basketball, etc.), capture and record a music video in the House of Blues in Downtown Orlando, and even create the 'end of the year' recap video for Southeastern U. Also, he was on the main media team for a national missions trip to the Dominican Republic which was able to help serve people in all 32 states. Some of his clips appeared on national television. He's in the process of working on two documentaries, one being about the country of Honduras and the other about surfing.
From Erik: "I am so thankful for the 10 Day Film Challenge. This competition has been one of the sparks that ignited my passion for storytelling. Looking back on my films from the challenge, I can definitely see that I have grown in my skills as a videographer."
Check out his work:
These two links are weddings he filmed through his production company: Shaka Rain Productions
These two links are for the yearly recap videos for his university.
Christopher Miglioranzi: 2014 HS Graduate, FL
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Two Faced Tomar". 2014. *Challenge Champion Click HERE.
Chris is currently a Sophomore at Daytona State College where he majors in Television. He is also a regional manager at a local photography company and freelance in videography.
Currently, he works behind the scenes for a televised show, aired on local networking. He has also collaborated with musicians and videographers to create innovative work.
He's won multiple National Video Contests such as the Geico HBCU Tailgate Tour Community Contest, Allianz ScholarTrips Video Contest, Mike and Ike "Your Reaction" Contest, and uSell Video Contest.
You can see his personal YouTube containing shorts, interviews, and music videos here: https://www.youtube.com/user/mcproductions321
From Chris: "The 10 Day Film Challenge meant so much to me because it allowed me to learn the value of time and how important it is in a production. I also greatly valued the opportunity to fly out to Philadelphia and connect with hundreds of other students interested in the same field of work."
Gabrielle Hernandez: 2015 HS Graduate, PA
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Imperfect Attendance". 2015. Click HERE.
Gabrielle is a freshman at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY as film major who occasionally does freelance work for a Burlesque Troupe. She recently finished a documentary on the importance of family & how you can find it in ways other than just being born into it. https://vimeo.com/147486733
From Gabrielle: "The 10 Day Film Challenge was my first time really tackling a project and having something I wrote be shown to a wide audience. This contest only furthered my drive to want to be a film major and helped point me in the direction I want to go with my career - writing. To even be so much as nominated into the finals was an amazing honor and a day I'm never going to forget. Being put into such an important position for my 10 Day Film Challenge project for my class was really the final push for me to start writing my novel (still in the works), Special, which you can keep updated about here: special-novel.tumblr.com"
You can also keep updated on Gabrielle's life at Pratt, her film major, and Special's progress at her twitter: @patchworkcrows
Sharona Iskhakov: 2015 HS Graduate, NY
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "The Therapy Session". 2015. Click HERE.
Sharon is currently a student at Queensborough Community College. She continues her filmmaking life outside of high school by assisting others with their films and taking film classes at college.
Her most recent work is a film about three girls who rule the school, but one is having problems. She suffers something from her past and a reoccurring friend never leaves her mind. WATCH HERE.
From Sharona: "The 10 Day Film Challenge. To me it meant so much. Having the opportunity to be able to expand my skills and challenge myself to things I've never done before was so amazing. All together I had a lot of fun and it was an experience I'll never forget.
Scott Bausemer: 2015 HS Graduate, MA
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Woodlands". 2015
Scott is currently a Freshman at Lesley University College of Art and Design as digital filmmaking major with an interest in cinematography. He continues his filmmaking life by making short films at school and outside of school.
You can see some of his most recent work here:
Cinematographer: https://vimeo.com/148414873, https://vimeo.com/143210828
Cinematographer and Editor: https://vimeo.com/148320226, https://vimeo.com/144574536
Director, Cinematographer, and Editor: https://vimeo.com/148298686
From Scott: "The 10 Day Film Challenge provided me with a great opportunity to challenge myself and express my creativity."
Madeline Donnerstag: 2014 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "I'm Kind of a Big Deal". 2014. Click HERE.
Madeline is currently a sophomore at Temple University majoring in Film and Media Arts. She's exploring other filmmaking aspects such as editing and filming techniques; including the use of 16mm film.
This is her final project for her Filmmaking class this past semester. https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=lYTJ7nz7Xog She went for an experimental style and explored different editing techniques.
From Madeline: "The 10 Day Film Challenge was a fun and exciting challenge that pushed me to dive deep into the film field, and I came out loving it even more than I did before. The given tasks definitely helped with my creativity and the time constraint prepared me for crunch time during finals. I'm really excited to further my education in film leading me to a great career!"
Daniel Lewis: 2015 HS Graduate, PA
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movies: "Beauty's Vendetta". Click HERE. "Imperfect Attendance". Click HERE.
Daniel is currently a college freshman at Millersville University. He is majoring in broadcasting and film major and he recently won a commercial contest for his university. You can see that commercial here, http://youtu.be/LawWmab6Yok which is a parody of 'the movies.'
From Daniel: "The 10 Day Film Challenge was one of the greatest experience of my life. It was one of the first contests I've ever been part of. It was exhilarating to make a script, characters, and a storyline with filming in a limited amount was really fun. If I was in high school, I would do it again in a heartbeat."
Nick Madson: 2014 HS Graduate, PA
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Playing Grown Up". 2014. Click HERE.
Nick is currently a sophomore in Boston University's College of Communication. he is majoring in Film & Television, with a minor in Journalism. At the end of his freshman year at BU, he began working at the Central Bucks School District as the Assistant Video Specialist. Starting at the end of January 2016, he will be interning with Finish Post Production, which is a visual effects and editing studio with locations in Boston and New York.
From Nick: "The 10 Day Film Challenge was my first opportunity in high school to make a film that was purely fictional and used traditional storytelling and narrative. For a prospective film student, it gave me a taste of what making a student film would be like."
You can check out some of his work here:
He shot and edited the recruitment video for my fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity.
His final project for my first film class in college. He was assigned to make a persuasive film that convinced the audience to adopt a particular belief or idea.
Samantha HItman: 2011 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Bieber Fever". 2011. Click HERE.
After studying filmmaking at Montclair State University and the Art Institute of Philadelphia, Samantha Hitman graduated from Camden County College in May 2015 with her degree in Film & Television Production. Ms. Hitman has scripted, shot, and edited a myriad of film projects for the college and private clients. In recognition of Hitman's efforts, the college awarded her with 6 awards in filmmaking including the very first Program Excellence Award in Film & TV Production.
Samantha has worked in event, theatre, film, and television productions from her internship with DFX Sound Vision, to running sound and lighting for The Road Company stage productions, to freelancing industrial and creative film projects for the college and several other clients, to being a camera and teleprompter operator for WMCN-TV. She is most proud of her current live music video project, A Northwood Memento, which makes live one-take music videos of local musicians and hosts shows to better tell the story of undiscovered writers.
From Samantha: "My experience in the 10 Day Film Challenge gave me the tools and wisdom to make better projects in even shorter periods of time and taught me to speak up about my opinion and stand out in a group. This new-found thinking I learned from the project turned out to be the most effective weapon I have in making things happen in my career."
See some of Samantha's work here:
A Northwood Memento
CCC 2015 Student Film Festival Winner
Alix Vitarelli: 2013 HS Graduate, NJ
My 10 Day Film Challenge Movie: "Overtime". 2013. Click HERE.
Alix is currently a Junior at Rowan University in NJ studying Music Education and Vocal Performance. She does a lot of stage work, mostly musical theatre and sometimes behind the scenes. You can see her shows at Haddonfield Plays and Players, South Jersey Stageworks Inc., and Rowan University's main stage productions and more.
From Alix: "A while ago I got my hands on some recording equipment and did my own little rendition of 'Do You Wanna Build a Snowman' when Frozen was making its big debut. This isn't my best credit to singing but it was fun jumping back into the techy part of performance. http://youtu.be/mtuOtrdM23o. The process that went into the 10 Day taught me to be precise in my decision making when working on things such as short films, editing, acting, etc. It benefited me in indirect ways that I am very much thankful for."
See her on Twitter & Instagram @alix_vitarelli to get updates on her upcoming performances.