The Final Cut

UIL Short Film Advances to Semi-Finals


Anthony Luparello

From left to right, junior Cason Johnson and seniors Ryan Green, Caleb Taylor and Anthony Luparello stand in front of the screen where their movie was projected during the premiere. The Premiere was held at Milburn Park on Jan. 14 and can also be viewed on YouTube. “It was very surreal to present the movie in front of a lot of people that I knew,” Green said. “It was a surreal experience because up to that point, it was just us looking at this movie. But we got to share it with a bunch of people and the surreal part was people reacting to the movie. That was really cool to watch and see people laugh at the jokes that we wrote. It was very satisfying.”

Madison Shields, Editor

Every tenth grader and above in Texas needs a Verification of Enrollment Form in order to get a driver’s license. But what if there was only one VOE left? Planning out a heist to steal it isn’t the most legal course of action, but it was the idea that was conceptualized by senior Jack Polishook and put into fruition by seniors Ryan Green, Anthony Luparello and Caleb Taylor into the short film “Verified” for the UIL State Film Festival. The trio created a company together named Invision Corporation, where they film and upload videos on YouTube under the same name.

The short film advanced to the semi-finals but was ultimately knocked out after. A lot of emotions were shared between the trio. There was some sadness, according to Luparello, but also a lot of pride.

“I was feeling really hype because we were one step closer,” Luparello said. “And when I saw the results it felt kind of surreal, I was like, ‘Wow people actually like our stuff,’ other than our parents or friends. It felt nice seeing a more out there audience enjoy our stuff as much as us. It felt very nice. I was bummed [when the short film didn’t advance], but at the same time I still felt so proud of my friends and I. The fact that we made it to the semifinals is so amazing, I think of it as the next step into the future of Invision.”

The short film, which had been talked about amongst its creators since the summer of 2022, began production in October and took three months to film and edit. Filming together wasn’t new to any of the boys, especially Green.

“I’ve really always been interested in filming, ever since I was very young,” Green said. “I liked the camera and I’d always make little funny videos with my friends. So, my interest in film stemmed from just messing around with my friends and filming ourselves.”

My favorite experience from filming was probably the first day with Mr. Sloan. His entire reaction was so funny to me. Me and Cayden were dying of laughter and trying to keep quiet in the background as they were having a stare down. We were losing it, but it was awesome.

— Michael Zolidis


The trio’s friends were enlisted to help produce the film. Junior Michael Zolidis’s job, for example, was acting as Cornelius Goober, The Nerd. Being a longtime friend of Luparello helped Zolidis secure his spot on the cast and contributed to his enjoyment of the entire experience.

“My favorite experience from filming was probably the first day with Mr. Sloan,” Zolidis said. “His entire reaction was so funny to me. Me and Cayden were dying of laughter and trying to keep quiet in the background as they were having a stare down. We were losing it, but it was awesome.”

It didn’t stop at friends in front of the camera, as junior Cason Johnson helped behind the scenes as well. Johnson was eager to assist the boys with filming and take care of the premiere’s technological components.

“I was mainly the person who was transporting all of the equipment to the park,” Johnson said. “So I put all of the speakers, the cart and the projector all in my car. Then I drove it and set it all up for the main premiere. I volunteered to help film the behind-the-scenes stuff. I thought it was really fun, so I kept on doing that kind of stuff with them. And eventually, they just accepted me into Invision.”

According to Johnson, the hours spent on teaching himself to use different equipment definitely paid off. Being surprised with a spot on the team that created the movie, made Johnson think about the future.

“I thought it was really cool,” Johnson said. “It was really awesome, being called up to give a little bit of a talk about what has happened. It was very cool and I think there are big plans for the future of Invision.”

Johnson helped prepare the premiere, but the idea was a last-minute project planned four days prior. That didn’t stop 60 people from showing up and enjoying the event, including freshman Reid Cummins.

“It was awesome,” Cummins said. “I rode my bike there with some friends, we got there and there was a bunch of noises in the middle of the park. So we walked towards the noises and there were a bunch of people there, and it was awesome. It was a really cool set up that I’ve never really seen before. It was really inspiring. I want to do something like that when I’m older and I want to make a UIL film, or something like that. It’s cool to see that it can be done and have something to base future projects on. It was also a really awesome event.”

Even though the process of creating a movie isn’t easy, Green said he encourages anyone interested to create projects in any way they can.

“I would say to people who want to pursue film and making projects to just do it,” Green said. “Even if they think it’s dumb, they don’t have enough money or they don’t have enough resources, I would say find a way to do it anyways. Even if it won’t have the product you exactly want, it’s still good to have something that you really wanted to do, be done.”