Havre grads return to show films
March 24, 2014
The Hi-Line Documentary and Film Festival Friday brought two special guests to show their works - former Havre High students now graduated from college who have pursued a career in film.
Laura Lovo recently graduated with bachelor's degrees in business marketing and media art at the University of Montana. She attended Havre High School and was first put to work making films with Vicki Proctor, a teacher at Havre High.
"She's the one who got me started with it ... " Lovo said. "It's great to have someone tell you you can do better."
Lovo spent five months in Nicaragua making videos for a nonprofit. The short film she brought to the film festival was a montage of the different people and things she saw during her stay there.
Lovo said she has not decided on her future plans, but is on the fence between pursuing a master's degree or going back to Nicaragua to work at the nonprofit.
Abi Ita, another Have High graduate, just earned her bachelor's degree in film and photography and her associate in anthropology from Montana State University in Bozeman.
She brought her senior thesis, called "American Honey," to the film festival. "American Honey" tells a true story about children growing up in households plagued with alcoholism and abuse.
Ita produced the movie and said she enjoys the position.
"As a producer, I like seeing someone's thoughts become a reality," Ita said. "It's really cool to see the thought get put on the big screen.
Ita said she has a couple of opportunities in Los Angeles through connections with friends and family, but she is not sure if she is going to pursue them yet.
Both Ita and Lovo began making films with Proctor. Proctor is a business teacher at Havre High School who has been teaching the media productions classes for around 20 years.
Proctor first approached the organizers of the film festival around 2007 to ask them to include the high school competition in the event.
The winners of the high school public service announcement and documentary competitions had to submit their final project for the media productions class to a panel of judges at the film festival to compete for a cash prize.
Selena Gibbs-Keller won first place in the documentary category with her film about shoplifting.
In the one-minute public service announcement competition, Oria Pratt took first with her PSA about suicide, Rian Shanklin took second with his PSA about recycling and Millie Loftus took third with her PSA on bulimia.
The winners of the 30-second PSA competition were Kyle Gooch, who took first with his PSA about suicide, Kristen Moore and Lainey Chagnon. Moore's PSA was about bullying and Chagnon's was about child abuse.
"This is their required project," Proctor said. "It really does give validity for the class. It's good because it gives the kids the feel of the competition. This field is so competitive."
Proctor said she wanted to give special thanks to the high school administration and the organizers of the film festival.
"Because of them, we have many, many kids working in television," Proctor said. "We have a lot of our kids out there."