Sycamore Township – Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy junior and Miami Township resident Gabe Schmidt claimed the Best Film award in the 2017 Teen Film Challenge, one of three awards he received. The red-carpet screening was held at the Underground on Saturday, August 26. Schmidt received the top honor and its accompanying $1000 prize, along with the Best Director and Best Screenplay awards. 

Sixteen-year old Schmidt created a stop-motion animated film using Legos during the event’s 72-hour filmmaking weekend, which was held on August 3-6. Twenty-eight teams entered the competition, with twenty-five of them submitting their films on time to be eligible for judging. 

The twelve judges of the challenge were nearly unanimous in ranking Schmidt’s film highest. 

To create his film, Schmidt wrote a story, and then filmed it in his basement using only an iPhone. CHCA 2017 graduate, Carter Jackson, joined Schmidt as voice-over talent and contributed the film’s original score.

At the kickoff event, each team drew a movie title and a genre, giving instructions to make their film fit both topics. Schmidt was given the choice of two categories-Action/Adventure or Mystery. He chose Action/Adventure and was given the title to work with “The Man with a Plan.” Based on this title, Schmidt decided on a story involving a bank heist. He borrowed a large quantity of white Lego bricks so he could build a bank, plus several mini-figures.

Watch Gabe building the set…


Once the filming was complete, Schmidt contacted Jackson with the lines to record, which he sent back via audio files by email. Jackson wrote the score by watching what Gabe had put together, fitting the tone of his music to the piece. 

“I think the movie turned out well,” says Schmidt. “It was more than just a generic action film, which is what I was hoping for.”

Watch the film…

Schmidt has been producing short films for four years. He has 5,090 followers on his YouTube channel, GDS Studios. Schmidt is also a member of the CHCA JV soccer team, the Academic Team, and performs in the school plays and Academy Night Live. 

Schmidt plans to enter the film in the 2018 Golden Lion Awards, a Midwest film festival for high school and junior high students.

Go to Gabe’s GDS Studios on YouTube ……




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