Teen View, the annual educational filmmaking program run by Nantucket Community Television and the Nantucket Film Festival, returns this year with five short films made by local teens interested in film. The films will premiere as part of NFF on Monday, June 26, at the Nantucket Dreamland’s studio theatre.
“I’m very excited,” Anna Popnikolova, one of the filmmakers and a junior at Nantucket High School, said.
The teens, who have spent months working on their projects, are responsible for writing, directing, editing, and producing the films. The program offers them the opportunity to learn these skills from experienced professionals and use them to create narrative and documentary shorts using industry-standard editing software and professional equipment. NCTV’s Mark Carapezza, a professional artist and magician, was the lead instructor this year.
“I think giving the kids the freedom to express themselves through video and get as close to the vision they have as possible, and then have an audience such as [NFF] to view it is really great,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn in filmmaking.”
“There’s always so much to learn,” she said. “It’s definitely made me more observant of film in general…it makes you think about the media you are consuming more.”
In 2022, Teen View was joined by Teen View Junior, a collaboration with the Nantucket New School that allows a group of middle school students to work together on their own short film. This year’s Teen View Junior film is The Lollipop Cowboy, a comedy short about a cowboy who steals candy from babies.
“[NFF] had always been thinking about expanding [Teen View] some way,” Carapezza, who also teaches music and art at NNS, said.
NNS offers an ‘X-block’ elective where students can pursue an interest of their own, and for the last two years, one of the options for students has been Teen View Junior.
In addition to the Teen View Junior film, Teen View features five student films this year, including Popnikolova’s documentary PFAS, which is about the toxic chemicals that have become the subject of much debate on the island in recent years. During the controversy surrounding NHS’s plan to install turf playing fields last fall, Popnikolova became extremely interested in PFAS, learning everything she could about the chemicals.
“There’s so much to learn and there’s so much to talk about and Nantucket is right in the middle of all of it,” she said. “What’s happening here goes much deeper than just the turf fields.”
Popnikolova, a program veteran, has made two previous short films for Teen View including Ms. Perry, a documentary about Edith Correia Perry, a Nantucket matriarch of Cape Verdean descent, which was included in the Nantucket Whaling Museum’s "Cape Verde in Our Soul" exhibition.
“That was really cool because it reached so many more people than it would have reached [otherwise],” she said.
Fellow NHS junior Kevin Serrano joins Popnikolova with his film Dreamland Ghost, a reenactment of ghost sightings at the Nantucket Dreamland. Senior Olivia Davis, who was recently accepted to The New School (the college, not NNS) to pursue screen studies, is also debuting her narrative film during Teen View called Tunnel Vision, which follows a sophomore girl who becomes obsessed with an upperclassman—until she uncovers his dark secret.
Embodying the collaborative spirit of Teen View, Popnikolova is also acting in Davis’s film.
The fourth short film is NHS Senior Misho Minevski’s An Imperfect Soul, following a wounded young soldier who, after becoming a prisoner of war, must face the shadows of his past and overcome his trauma and guilt.
The final short comes from Lucy Bell, the youngest participant in the Teen View program this year. Bell, a ninth grader, also chose to make a narrative film called Gone, which follows a lonely girl who makes an enthusiastic—but dead—friend.