MHS students win top film award at International Thespian Festival

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

MARIANAS High School students Ryan Kang and James Park received the top award in film at the International Thespian Festival, which was held virtually on June 22-26, 2020.

About 2,400 students from 46 states and eight countries participated in the virtual event.

According to Harold Easton, chapter director of Thespians of the Western Pacific Islands, Kang and Park’s animated film, “A White World,” was the only entry featured on the main stage.

The film is about e-cigarette/vape use among teens, and received “Excellent” and “Superior” ratings. ( )

This is the second year that members of the MHS filmmaking team have been recognized as  No. 1 in film, Easton noted.

In 2019, Jenikah Elayda and Cesiah Maclang’s documentary, “Starting Over,” received Superior rating and was  featured on the main stage.

“These fantastic filmmakers are coached by Jonel Alepuyo who consistently brings out the best in our MHS Thespian students,” Easton said.

The CNMI team, composed of students from Marianas High School and Dandan Middle School, participated in the virtual International Thespian Festival on June 22-26, 2020. Contributed photos

Kang and Park said they started working on their animated film in October 2019.

“We brainstormed multiple ideas and decided on one to work with,” Kang said. “Afterwards we held weekly meetings outside of school to solely focus on the video.”

Park said they spend most of their time modeling characters using vectors from different sources, and creating objects for an eye-popping experience.

“In every regional competition, we took the judges' feedback into great consideration, and further developed and updated our video to make our message more compelling and our animation more interesting,” Park said.

The Covid-19 pandemic   stopped their work for a while, but they regularly met online to prepare for the festival.

These are the awards received by the CNMI Thespian team members:

Technical Theatre and Film

James Park and Ryan Kang - Film (Animation): Excellent with one overall Superior ballot, plus significant Superior ratings in various categories on the other two ballots.

Vladimir Palma and Vivian Liu - Film (Documentary): Excellent with a Superior Evaluation in Cinematography, Audio and Editing

Jody Coloma - Theater Marketing: Excellent

Carlyne Ada and Katherine Magat - Short Film: Submission being reevaluated by the Education Theatre Association


Bernice Shane Sabino - Solo Musical: All Superior rated ballots

Boni Gio Sagana - Solo Musical: Excellent and one overall Superior ballot

Jonathan Wolf and Anastacia Shamanaeva - Duet Acting: Excellent with a Superior evaluation in acting transitions and voice.

Betty Matson - Solo Musical: Excellent

College Call Backs

  • Bonnie Gio Sagana of MHS – Drama Major, scholarship offer from Midland University in Nebraska. He received call backs from other 20 interested colleges, including Loyola New Orleans, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Columbia College Chicago, New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, AMDA in New York City, Southern Missouri State University, Carroll College in Montana, Ohio University, Webster University in Missouri, Nebraska Wesleyan, Hussian College, Ohio Northern University, University of Arizona, Drake University, Berry College, St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, Carthage College in Chicago, The New School - College of Performing Arts, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Catawba College.
  • Macy Manzanares of MHS - Drama Minor, received call backs from Oklahoma City University, University of Arizona - Tier 1 University, The New School - College of Performing Arts, Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts, Cornish College of Arts, Carthage College, and AMDA College.



previous arrow
next arrow

Read more articles

Visit our Facebook Page

previous arrow
next arrow