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Red Bank Regional High student takes top honors

A Red Bank Regional High School student has earned top honors at a film festival.

John Tuohy, 16, of Little Silver, was awarded Best Picture and Best Short Narrative at the Big Dreams and Silver Screens Youth Festival on June 3 for his short film “Parallax Dreams”.

Held in Rahway, the Big Dreams and Silver Screens Youth Festival is for students in grades 3-12.

A rising junior at Red Bank High, John will be interviewed on Edison TV’s “Classic Movies with Ron MacCloskey” as the festival’s grand prize winner, which will air in August. “Parallax Dreams” will also be screened at the Monmouth Film Festival, Red Bank, in August, and the Rahway International Film Festival, Westfield, in September, according to a press release from the school district.

According to the press release, John is an Interactive Media major in the Red Bank High Academy of Visual and Performing Arts.

John’s involvement in filmmaking began at the age of 6 after he saw the behind the scenes documentaries for films like the original “Star Wars” trilogy and “Jurassic Park”.

“The documentaries helped break the illusion of film to me and showed that much more went into making a film than I originally thought,” he said. “Coupled with seeing other people make their own short films on the internet, it proved to me that this was something I could feasibly pursue.”

He also commented on how filmmaking appeals to him.

“Having a platform to express myself on and tell a story in a visually stylized way is very appealing to me,” John said.

John described “Parallax Dreams” as an experimental short film that follows a traveler on a journey through a barren, dreamlike land. Originally intended to be a music video for the song “Signals” by Brian Eno, the film would expand from its initial concept.

“The video was meant to be a film derived from the images I imagined to play in tandem with the ambient song,” John said. “It evolved into a larger short film from there. The film is also influenced by personal experience and feelings in terms of storyline.”

He cited directors Jean-Luc Godard, David Lynch, and Martin Scorsese as visual influences on “Parallax Dreams” and also made note of influences from films such as Lynch’s “Eraserhead”, Godard’s “Breathless”, Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and Francois Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows”.

For the future, John said his plan is to keep watching films and learn from experience.

“Currently, I have been writing more screenplays and I would like to do a sort of neo-noir or crime film in the future, but apply some art film aspects to it,” John said.

With his film earning top honors at a festival, he thanked festival directors Gina Marie Rodriguez and Stacey Ignacio for selecting “Parallax Dreams” to win Best Picture and Best Short Narrative.

“It has been my dream to be featured in a film festival, let alone winning an award,” he said. “I would thank everyone else involved in my short who made it possible to even be made in the first place.”

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