For four Marianas High School seniors, the American dream can be attained through hard work. Senior students Ervin E. Santiago, Ronnel Ringor, Jullian Briosos, and Stevan Roque made their message heard in a 12-minute film that won them first place in the NMI Humanities Council’s inaugural student film festival last Saturday at the American Memorial Park.
Student entries for the film category and the photomontage category answered the question: “What does the American Dream mean in the CNMI?” Students were judged based on the story/script, imagery, audio, video editing, and creative content.
The winning film, The American Dream, by the MHS student group called “All Stars Productions,” narrated the life of a poor local male who experienced many hardships in his life and worked and studied hard to go to college and eventually land a stable job.
Ringor told the Saipan Tribune that he and his team wanted to stress that “through hard work everyone can achieve the American Dream.” He added that the people who currently are living the dream are oblivious that they have it until they no longer do.
Fellow filmmaker Santiago said that his definition of the American Dream is “about achieving our most desired goal and being able to come back to the island after leaving for college to help.”
Roque said the event sheds light on an important topic and gave the youth an outlet to express their creativity through film.
Kagman High School’s Audrey Camacho, Iramhel Talon, and Michael Ian’s The American Dream film placed second. Miguel Dandan from Mount Carmel School presented Saimerican, which won third place.
The inaugural film festival also featured a special photomontage category where participants collected photos of Saipan reflecting the competition’s theme.
Enoch Chang’s photomontage, titled My Dream, told his story of moving to Saipan as a Chinese national accompanied by his parents and gradually learning the language and culture of the island.
Chang, a student of Agape Christian School, was represented by his principal Jimeian Pang.
“I am very proud. This is something he did from his heart. He told me he was going to join but I had no idea it was going to be so outstanding and inspirational,” she said.
Pang said that she was brought to tears while watching her student’s film.
Grace Christian Academy’s Emman Parian placed second with his photomontage.
According to Humanities Council’s program Officer Eulalia Villagomez the first place winner received $1,000, second place was awarded $500, and third place was given $250.
She said the event was made possible through a 2010 We The People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Chris Nelson, Robert Hunter, and Emelinda Cabrera judged the films and photomontages. Villagomez said the students were given two months to submit their pieces.
The council is planning to make the event an annual one, to also include college students.