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Winners of Hillcrest contest get schoolwide exposure in Norwin

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Hillcrest Intermediate School music teacher Devon Lippman, left, shows students a silent film inspired by the song “Freaky Fantasy,” made by their peers on Friday, March 22, 2013. The school’s band plans to perform the song, accompanied by a silent film, as part of its spring concert on May 21.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Hillcrest Intermediate School rolled out the red carpet last month for a screening of 14 student-made silent films and the release of a 21-track album featuring members of the school band.

Groups of students made short silent films built around the song “Freaky Fantasy,” by composer Mike Hannickel, which the sixth-grade band will perform during its May 21 spring concert.

After viewing the films, the students voted “Hillcrest Horror,” by Maya Patterson, Hannah Kozak, Victoria Saunders, Alexis Birkland and Aaviele Ieraci as their favorite film. It will be shown during the spring concert as the band plays “Freaky Fantasy,” according to the school's music teacher, Devon Lippman.

“Students have more technology and devices in the school. We opened this project up to anyone who'd like to make a movie, and gave them the music to be the background of their film,” Lippman said.

Over the course of two months, the student filmmakers were required to map out a plot, theme and setting for each film, which Lippman reviewed before allowing them to shoot their movies.

Although the films featured no dialogue, Lippman said the challenge was making their story and actions fit the theme of the music.

“It's been pretty wild, and now, the excitement will just continue to build up until the May 21 concert,” Lippman said.

Sixth grader Abby Heit, 12, worked on the film “Zufällig,” which is German for “random,” with several of her friends. They made the film over the course of several school days, she said.

“People were really up for it, and let us film, and we didn't really have a plot line,” Heit said. “We just tried to make the most random poses we could, and it was pretty funny to see it screened.”

In addition to the silent films, other students in the band used computer software to record covers of popular movie songs, Lippman said.

“The CD was more of an independent project for individual students,” Lippman said. “The computer actually records what they're playing on their instruments, layers it into the rest of the music, and lets them know if there are any notes they missed.”

Sixth-graders Rachel Lundy, 11, and Caitlin Pingree, 12, worked together to record their rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” from “the Wizard of Oz.” Each of them played the clarinet.

Lundy said she was excited to work on the song because it has always been one of her favorite movie tunes.

“It was interesting to get to play it on our clarinets,” she said. “We had to make sure we performed 96 percent of the notes correct, or higher before we could record it.”

The duo worked on the song over the course of several weeks during their daily activity period, Pingree said.

“Hearing the finished product was just awesome,” Pingree said. “I can't wait to show it to my family.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or

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