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East Texas film students movies will be featured at largest high school film festival in NYC

"The kids are incredibly excited to get get another chance to go to the big apple," said Joshua Graves, Longview ISD teacher.

LONGVIEW, Texas — It's lights, camera, action for some young local filmmakers. Longview High School students made it to the finals of the world's largest high school film festival. 

In order to pay for the expenses, the students are asking for the community's help.

Ben Hatfield, Longview ISD Senior, has been a part of Longview High's film and theater program for four years.

"He (Joshua Graves) pulled me aside after class and said 'you want to make a movie?," Hatfield said. 

Hatfield's first role was small. 

"His first job on anything was a windshield shadow and so he had a broom and he would wave it in front of a light for 15 minutes," said Joshua Graves, Longview Film and Technical Theatre teacher. 

Anything for the perfect shot. Fast forward to senior year, Hatfield and 11 other students have been given the opportunity to head to the city of dreams.

"We have recently entered two films into the All American Film Festival in New York," Hatfield said. 

According to Hatfield, Forget Me Not is a suspenseful film about a girl who recently breaks up with her abusive boyfriend. The girl then moves into a new house that begins to trigger her. 

You're So Annoying won third place in the state finals. It's about two obnoxious students that begin to create a connection through their "annoyingness". 

"Through that connection is a beautiful story about love, heartbreak, and tragedy," Hatfield said. He starred, co-wrote, and directed the film. 

The two films will premiere at the largest high school film festival in the world this October.

"The kids are incredibly excited to get another chance to go to the big apple," Graves said. 

Before they can make it to the concrete jungle, the students need your help. 

"Hopefully all 12 of us can go," Hatfield said. "To go, it would be $18,000."

A hefty price tag, but for the chance of a lifetime… it's priceless.

"There's scholarship opportunities, they give out film making equipment, [and] it is a big deal for high school students," Graves said. 

The students will be hosting benefit nights and other fundraisers. Community members can also email Mr. Graves for donation information at jgraves@lisd.org. 

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