Student Filmmaker Liam Walsh Captures ‘Best in Show’ Award

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Liam Walsh’s film ‘In HARMoNY’ received the ‘Best in Show’ award for the 2016 Rod Serling Film Festival. Walsh has been participating in the Festival since 6th grade as a student at Chenango Forks School District in Chenango Forks, NY.  A filmmaker and composer, he is currently studying Film and Television Production at the University of Southern California.  Here he responds to interview questions we posed.

What is your film about?  Can you summarize it in a few sentences?
In Harmony is about a man looking for repentance. In his past, he abused and murdered his girlfriend. Unable to bare the guilt any longer, he travels into the past to stop the murder from ever happening.
How did you come up with the idea for your film?
The idea for In Harmony came to me when I had a vision of an old man digging up a grave. I wondered who or what he could be digging up–I thought it would be interesting if he were digging up himself. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to make that possible, so I scrapped it and came up with the story for In Harmony. I kept that original shot, and kept the idea of traveling through time central to the story.
Can you talk about your approach to the script and technical elements you used?
The script itself was actually much longer than the final film. My first cut of In Harmony was almost 9 minutes, so I had to cut out 4 minutes of dialogue to meet the festival requirements. I let my actors play with their lines a little bit to make them more organic, and we did a lot of different takes. I think the coolest technical element used was the use of a tracking shot to transition from the inside to the outside. Cutting that out would have really helped me to cut the film down to 5 minutes, but I thought it was way too cool to let go.
Thank you for sharing your film with WSKG! How did you hear about the Rod Serling Film Festival?
I’ve been participating in the festival since I was in 6th grade, so it’s been a part of my life for a while. I think I first heard of it in 2010 from my family. They knew I liked to film and create things and thought the festival would be a fun chance to make my work public. At the time, I had no idea that it would change my life so much. I am now a film student at the University of Southern California. Without the festival, I never would have expanded my portfolio, or my knowledge of filmmaking to the degree that I have.
Which part of this filmmaking experience did you enjoy the most?
For this particular short film, I really enjoyed the editing. Cutting it down to 5 minutes was a big challenge that turned out to be very educational. I learned that oftentimes, less is more.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
About the festival. If you’re a student who has any interest in film, take a day and make something. It can be anything. Then do it again and make it better. And keep doing it until you make something you’re proud of. And submit it to the Rod Serling Film Festival. Chances are, you’ll fall in love with filmmaking. Maybe you’ll be selected for the festival. And every year, you can make something new. And by the end, you’ll have so much work that you’re proud of. And if you’re in love with filmmaking, you can go out in the industry and make something of yourself. I never thought I’d be going to USC film school, with a real chance to get into Hollywood. I have that now, and I honestly owe so much of that to the Rod Serling Film Festival. Do it. Make great things.

The 2016 Rod Serling Film Festival will be held at the Art Mission & Theater on October 16, 2016 and all winning selections can be found here.

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