Our first Highbridge Film Festival experience

Last March, Patrick was approached about helping out in a short film that a few students at nearby Asbury University were planning. The Highbridge Film Festival is a popular avenue around here for students involved in film and the arts, and the producers of this short film wanted to enter. Todd made all the arrangements for Patrick and even talked me into having an extremely small bit part. As you would imagine, many hours go into the planning, arranging, taping, and editing that will eventually become an 8 minute movie. Todd and Patrick were gone several days and even one or two late evenings to complete the shoot, but after every one, they each had the same reactions: Patrick absolutely enjoyed acting, and Todd had nothing but good things to say about Patrick’s ease in front of the camera.

In late April, we had the opportunity to attend our first Highbridge festival, and it was something to see. First of all, all eight of us attended and we all dressed up. Of course, in true to form Murphy’s Law fashion, it poured that entire night. And by poured, I mean, torrential downpour. We all got soaked. But somehow we muddled through and made it to the auditorium. We took up an entire row and looked only slightly out of place being surrounded by college students dressed to the nines. (Ahh to be young again….Then again, nevermind.) The kids were all excited, but easily grew impatient while we waited for the festivities to begin.

When it finally got underway, we were all enthralled by the different offerings. Some were humorous–and a couple were downright hilarious, and others were serious. At one point, Todd had to take the youngest children out on the advice of the emcee and others that one of the films could be scary. The little ones didn’t mind; in fact, I think it only helped to add to the mystique of the evening for them. At long last, “Patrick’s” film was shown. It was the last entry of the night, and after watching the others, I wasn’t sure how his would fare with such a varied amount of talent. We were all so excited–none of us had seen the final product before that night. The storyline is simple: a young, talented, misunderstood boy is trapped in a sad home life which only serves to keep him from reaching his full potential. Thanks to the encouragement of two teachers who see his abilities, he is finally able to go on and reach heights he may not have otherwise attained. Or, as the Highbridge program denoted, “A story of hope.” (Perhaps I’m too wordy.) I knew I would tear up, mainly from seeing Patrick on the big screen as it were for the first time, but I had no idea that about two minutes into the film that Andrew would start sobbing. He set off Ben. Hannah was crying by the end. Patrick, I think, was still upset that we made him wear a tux. (That’s not true; that kid was tickled that he had the opportunity to do something like this!). Our row wasn’t the only ones wiping tears, either; people around us sniffled before they applauded at the end. It was superb, and I just wanted to watch it again and again.

In the end, the film took home two awards that night, including the coveted “Audience Choice.” It was a wonderfully fun evening. We made a mad dash from the auditorium through the relentless rain to the party after the festival, stopping to take a few pictures on our way. If it hadn’t been raining, it would have been perfect. Even with the rain, it was a memorable family event. Below are a few pictures from the evening, as well as the film “For Jacob.”

for jacob from Tyler Hoff on Vimeo.

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