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HHS Seniors Shine on Film Festival Circuit

As their senior year winds down, Howell High School's Music, Video and Production major (MVP) members have racked up win after win on the film festival circuit. 

Senior Amanda Katz recently took home Best Home Grown Student Short Film for her feature He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not at the 20th annual Garden State Film Festival. Amanda also appeared in and assisted in the production of Skipping a Beat, directed and produced by Howell Video alum Michael D. Smith, class of 2018.

Amanda and frequent collaborator Blake Alcide also brought home honors after screening projects at the annual Count Basie Teen + College Film Festival. Blake, who is headed The New York University Tisch School of the Arts for film, had her poetry short Ode to the Women of Long Island screened. Amanda, who is going to Chapman University's Dodge College of Film & Media Arts, had two films included. Her poetry adaptation film Body, Forgive Me and He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not received high scores. The combined average scores from the three projects led to Howell High School receiving the School Award and two Sony digital cameras. 

Amanda also took the Big Dreams Youth Film Festival by force. She left the annual event with a trophy for Best Music Video for her adaptation of Slow Dancing in the Dark and was later given the festival's Rising Star Award.

Additionally, for the first time in over ten years, MVP has a video winner at the regional level of the Technology Student Association (TSA) Competition. Senior Lucia Assenza buckled down over a weekend to produce a sixty-second short video explaining the uses of Augmented Reality. The Video On Demand winner now has the opportunity to move on to the TSA Nationals. Lucia recently committed to the film program at Rutgers University.

"These ladies have worked particularly hard at showcasing their voices and telling stories that resonate with audiences. Regardless of the wins, they keep learning and keep growing. And that's the kind of thing that will take them far in life," said MVP Video Teacher Scott Napolitano. "We're exceptionally proud of their accomplishments and can't wait to see what comes next for them."

The Music, Video and Production Program, formerly known as the Entertainment Technology program, is part of Howell's Performing Arts Academy. Students who have taken four years of video production in the class have gone on to attend NYU Tisch, University of Southern California, Emerson, Savannah College of Art and Design, Florida State University, Syracuse, and many more prestigious programs. To see the films mentioned above, as well as many more created by current and former students, visit