Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy junior Gabe Schmidt claimed the Best Animated Film award at the Kids Film It Festival on November 11th in Cleveland – his second film festival victory in three months.

Schmidt’s stop-motion short, “The Man with a Plan,” was honored during the awards show at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His prize was a GoPro camera. In late August in Cincinnati, that same work earned the Best Film award in the Teen Film Challenge, when Schmidt was also honored with the Best Director and Best Screenplay awards.

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy junior Gabe Schmidt being presented the Best Animated Film award by Ryan Levine, the festival’s founder.

The Kids Film It Festival is the brainchild of 14-year-old Ryan Levine of Cleveland. After his grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Levine started the festival in 2016 as a way to raise money for a cure.

With filmmakers ranging in ages 8-18 from across the country, the festival drew more than 100 entries this year among three categories (Animated Film, Short Film, and Music Video). This year’s event raised more than $46,000, with all proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Levine emceed the red-carpet screenings and presented Schmidt with his award.

“The event was very cool,” Schmidt said. “It was all for a good cause, so I was glad to be a part of it.”

16-year-old Schmidt created his stop-motion animated film in August using Lego figures. The story centers on a bank heist, and he filmed it in his basement using only an iPhone. CHCA graduate Carter Jackson ’17 voiced a character and contributed the film’s original score.

Schmidt is a member of CHCA’s audio/visual production team, led by teacher Adam Cool. Schmidt has been producing short films for four years and has 5,473 subscribers on his YouTube channel, GDS Studios.

He is also a member of the CHCA Varsity Soccer Team and Academic Team, and he performs in the school plays and in Academy Night Live.



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