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He 'Swung,' he connected

This weekend, Huntington Beach filmmaker Cameron Lew will be a star in New York — and a diligent SAT-prepper back home.

October 01, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Cameron Lew, 17, a senior at Huntington Beach High School, is an official selection for the All-American High School Film Festival, which takes place in New York from Oct. 4 to 6.
Cameron Lew, 17, a senior at Huntington Beach High School,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Cameron Lew wanted to spend the weekend in New York City.

But, alas, Saturday is the day he takes the SAT.

Early this year, the 17-year-old filmmaker created "Swung," recently short-listed as an official selection for the first-ever All-American High School Film Festival from Oct. 4 to 6. But the Huntington Beach High School senior's travel plans were stymied by dreams of college.

He's not overly disappointed, though.

If anything, he's "grateful" that his first love story — depicting two teenagers whose relationship comes to a grinding halt because of an accident — was one of 80 picked from more than 1,000 submissions from 40-plus states, as well as Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France.

"I wanted to have fun and get my film out there," Cameron said. "From here, I don't care what happens. Just the fact that I got in is super awesome."

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Cameron and film festival founder Andrew Jenks have never met, but evidence abounds that they are kindred spirits.

Jenks, 27, of Manhattan, recalls moving around often during his youth. Movies were his one constant, and so, at 16, he launched a film festival at Hendrick Hudson High School. This way, he hoped, his short videos could make it to a big screen instead of just being watched at home by his family and friends.

But soon, he wanted more.

"I am a big basketball fan and realized that there is the McDonald's All-American Basketball game and similar outlets for exposure and opportunities for athletics and academics, but there was nothing for film," Jenks said.

Adopting a similar template, he enlisted the help of notables Edward Burns, Dylan McDermott, Morgan Spurlock, Diablo Cody, Kristen Stewart, Henry Winkler, Danny Rose and Carlton Cuse, who will serve as judges at the All-American High School Film Festival.

"[My goal is] to put young filmmakers on the path to success," Jenks added. "If they need resources to help them realize their vision, I want to put a camera in their hand. If they need exposure so that top film programs will acknowledge and reward their skills, I want to provide it. If they need tips and tricks to improve their projects, I want to give them that too."

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