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TAS Finalists at All American High School Film Festival

TAS Finalists at All American High School Film Festival

By Ina C. '25, Communications Intern

The All-American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF) is the largest high school film festival, attracting talented filmmakers and media arts enthusiasts from around the world. Hosted annually in the heart of New York City, the AAHSFF offers a transformative experience for students. It allows students to learn from and connect with professionals, screen their creations, receive scholarships and technology prizes, and most importantly, build a community of shared interests and lifelong friendships.

In August, the AAHSFF announced this year's prompt for the Complete Film Invitation Experience Category: “What You Don’t Know."  During the 10-week pre-production period, the TAS film team tackled every aspect of creating a short narrative film: ideation, scriptwriting, location planning, casting, production design, shooting, editing practice, and much more. The team met after school almost every day and multiple times on weekends to prepare and practice.

Halfway through the pre-production period, the team settled on the film title: “What You Don’t Know about Cake.” The film features four main characters, each representing different film genres: comedy, horror, drama, and romance. The plot revolves around these four friends trying to bake a cake and organize a last-minute birthday party.

Their planning turns hilariously disastrous, mirroring the whims of an omnipotent force. The film culminates in a twist, revealing that the four friends are actually film writers, each arguing over the film's direction. The narrative cleverly represents the film-writing process, with the cake serving as a metaphor for a film that becomes chaotic as the conflicting genres clash.

In New York, the team had one day before the competition for location scouting, visiting their rented Airbnb and various locations across Central Park. With only 56 hours during the competition to shoot and edit the entire film, the challenge was immense. Submissions from all participating teams were premiered at an exclusive screening at the AMC Empire 25 Theater in Times Square on Sunday, October 22. The nominees and winners were announced during the Teen Indie Awards on Sunday, October 23.

Back in Taipei, the TAS film team revised the film for an official screening in the Black Box Theater on November 13, to a delighted audience. The event included a short Q/A panel with the team and, fittingly, delicious cake after the screening.

This trip left everyone with unforgettable memories, and everyone agreed that “the friends and bond we made along the way made it all worth it.” Reflecting on the challenging yet rewarding production process, Sage R. ‘25 remarked, "I was amazed at the hard work of everyone involved. The first-time actors hustled through my nagging, camera people got gorgeous shots, and audio people held it all together. I’m so lucky to be a part of this film family!”

Special thanks to Mr. Barrus, Mr. Town, and Ms. Kao for your guidance and expertise and making the trip exceptionally memorable.