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The News Website for Glendale High School


The News Website for Glendale High School


GHS Alum Sophie Verweyen Goes to Cannes

Recent Nitro graduate has short film selected for the annual festival in France
Sophie Verweyan (center, in black) poses with other young filmmakers at the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase in May.

Sophie Verweyen graduated from Glendale High School in 2020, and had been a part of Mr. Kirkwood’s film program all four years of her time here. She learned to work with cameras and produce her own films, and soon her love for film began to grow. 

It was her time in Cinematography at GHS  that Sophie filmed “Greta”, a short film about Greta Thunburg, the climate activist. The film focuses on the mental health struggles that she faced before realizing that something had to be done about the climate crises.

Because it was shot during the Covid-19 pandemic, Sophie had to do a lot of the production and post-production on her own, while having a small skeleton crew to direct. Her hard work has immensely paid off, as this year her film was chosen to be featured at the Emerging Filmmaking Showcase for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival

“I’m very proud of this short film,” Sophie said. “Even though it was filmed two years ago, it’s obviously still a very important topic, and I think it holds up pretty well.”

How did you first get into film?

My dad’s a director and cinematographer, so there was a little bit of that, but I thought it would be a cool elective to take, so I did, and I fell in love with it. Mr. Kirkwood really helped me find my passion with filmmaking, directing and writing especially, and it was just a great community in the film program. 

I always tell people, because they’re always so impressed with me knowing so much for a sophomore in community college, [that] honestly, I had an amazing high school film program. Most people don’t get that experience, so I was very lucky to have it.

Did you ever think that one of your films would be shown at a film festival?

No, I didn’t. Last year I went through the full festival circuit. [“Greta”] was accepted into the San Francisco International Film Festival, it won Best Student Film at Cinequest Film Festival,  it was [the] opening night film for the One Earth Film Festival and now this year, it’s been accepted into the Cannes Emerging Filmmaker Showcase

A lot of people… started off with short films at Cannes, and then from there, later on when they’re actually making full-length feature films, they get to show it at the actual Cannes Film Festival. So I’m hoping that happens there. I have my short film, and then in the future [I may] get to share it with a larger audience.

What inspired this film?

I read this book that Greta Thunburg’s mother wrote. It’s called Our House Is on Fire, and it’s about the struggles they went through as a family, especially with Greta.

Having Asperger’s [Syndrome] definitely affected her daily life, leading her to get bullied and not knowing how to really interact with people in social settings. And then when she learned about climate change in elementary school, it took a huge toll on her mental health. 

When you have Asperger’s, you often get fixated on one thing, and her fixation was climate change. She talked about how she saw a video about climate change and was horrified about it. Everyone in her class was, too, but then by the end of the video they just forgot about it. Yet she was still fixated on it. 

What was the filming process like?

I was shooting it myself. And it was interesting to sort of juggle holding the camera, while also directing, because I had to figure out the shot and also tell the actors what to do. Thankfully, my actors were great and really knew what they were doing. 

Going to each location, I had a shot list [and] storyboards. I had the whole script printed out for each of the actors, and I’d get there, block it out, [do] any of the lighting I needed, [go] over the scene with my actors, [make] sure they were comfortable, and then [shoot] everything. 

And then what really brought the story together was later in post production, [when I was] editing it all together, which I really enjoyed. Especially through that process, I realized how much I enjoy editing, because it’s its own storytelling in a way. You’re piecing together all these different shots, and trying to tell a story in the best way possible. It’s especially rewarding when it’s your own film; it’s not boring watching hours…of footage when it’s your own stuff. It was a great learning process.

Sophie’s advice to students who want to become filmmakers is to keep on writing. “If you’re in the film program, you have access to all this amazing equipment,” she said.  “So take advantage of it and go shoot your own stuff.”

“It’s crazy–only two years ago I was just a regular high school student making little short films,” she said. “Being able to take that step and make a film basically all by myself, know how to do everything, and continue on that path and know [that], okay, I have a future in film, and I can continue making films.”

If you would like to watch Sophie’s short film Greta, please go HERE!

About the Contributor
Mia Alcibar, Staff Writer
Mia is a sophomore at Glendale High School and plays for the GHS soccer team. In her free time, she enjoys reading and listening to music.
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