Special Program Features Beyond the Peaks Winners

Journey to other worlds of imagination, inquisitiveness, and ingenuity, thanks to the young filmmakers of the Beyond the Peaks Student Film Festival.

Next year's film festival
Launching September 2023

In this special episode of Mountain Lake Journal, we showcase the work of talented teen filmmakers around the state of New York and Vermont. The short films in this special are all winning entries in their respective categories in the film festival for the year 2023.

A few words about the award-winning films…

“Next Stop: Tupper Lake!”
Submitted by: Harrison Smith
Documentary Winner, Overall 1st Place

This film celebrates the reopening of the railroad to Tupper Lake in upstate New York. Harrison Smith, producer, says the railroad had been closed since the 1980 Olympics, and recently a passenger train arrived at Tupper Lake from Utica.  Smith, a homeschooled student, is very interested in railroads and photography.  He says he hopes to make more films like this for future Tupper Lake railroad projects.

“Equal Distance”
Submitted by: Seven Bowen
Documentary, Overall 2nd Place

This documentary by Seven Bowen highlights coach Molly Peters’ goals of making racing distances for women equal to those of men. Molly Peters is a cross-country running and skiing coach at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, and has been working on her campaign for the past three years.

“I am Odd”
Submitted by: Benjamin Giroux
Open Winner, Overall 3rd Place

“I am Odd” is a poem written in 2016 by student Benjamin Giroux. Giroux wrote about his life as a person with autism. He’s since expanded his poem into song lyrics and with this inventive animated music video.

“The Circle
Submitted by: Melina Mitchell, Jennifer Davis, Alexa Markowicz, Malik McDuffie, Karley Tourville, Lucas Allen, Joelynn Montemayor, Serena Ramos, Karlie Hornby, Lorelei Rivera, and Ethan Wilson
Drama Winner

The film emphasizes the importance of group discussions where students talk with one another about problems and acts of discrimination they may be facing at school. The students gather in a circle and discuss topics relevant to their lives, including homophobia, racism, and general bullying. The creators of this drama belong to the Butterfly Effect Club, named for the Monarch Butterfly which to them symbolizes spreading kindness and awareness about tough issues in schools. 

“2024 President Anu Roth” 
Submitted by: Quinn Roth
Comedy Winner

Producer Quinn Roth created light-hearted comedy about his 7-year old dog Anu, and the canine’s long journey from hard beginnings to presidential candidate. Roth plays the role of a news reporter who interviews people about their opinions on Anu’s candidacy. He also interviews the candidate, who is a dog of few words.

“Smoking Kills”
Submitted by: Hyde Wood, Ethan Parrow, Corey Delles, Abigail McIntosh, and Seth Taylor
PSA Winner

This public service announcement focuses on the importance of staying away from cigarettes, and other nicotine products. The viewers witness scenes from the life of a bedridden teenager who suffers from lung cancer. 

About Beyond the Peaks

The Beyond the Peaks Student Film Festival began in 2019, launched by AdkAction with Tupper Lake Central School District aiming to expand opportunities for local youth interested in digital storytelling. The festival was named for the Adirondack area students reaching “beyond the peaks.”

Mountain Lake PBS is honored to continue the tradition of the Beyond the Peaks Student Film Festival into the 2022-23 school year and beyond. We are excited to support filmmaking and digital storytelling—underrepresented artforms in our rural communities—while amplifying youth voices and creativity.