By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An independent film festival is underway in Philadelphia this weekend and one of the entries is a short film made by a group of Gloucester County high school students.

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“Awaken” is a short film that was created by about 20 students at Clearview Regional High School in Mullica Hill last spring. It took home four awards in the New Jersey 10 Day Film Challenge, including “Best Overall Film,” and the prize was an entry into the 16th annual First Glance Philadelphia Film Festival.

18-year-old Ryan Armstrong directed, narrated and helped to write the screenplay. He even did some of the filming of the romantic narrative. He says the ending of the film is up for interpretation.

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“The decision whether she’s dead or if he is meeting the girl of his dreams, whether it’s a happy or even sad ending, it’s really for the audience to decide,” Armstrong says. “That’s why I liked writing this movie and doing this movie, because it really keeps the audience thinking and that’s one of my favorite movies.”


There are nearly 40 films — a mix of shorts and features being screened at the film festival, which wraps up Sunday night at the Franklin Institute. The audience gets to vote best of fest.

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“This film festival is really going to give someone their start,” Armstrong says. “And it’s a great experience.”