Red carpet moment: Westfield High School senior creates short film festival


A longtime passion in film and media arts recently led a Westfield High School senior to create a short film festival to highlight students’ work, including her own.

Luci Bluto, 18, presented the Westfield High School Short Film Festival April 22 at the high school that highlighted 10 films created by students that ranged in genres from horror to comedy to drama. The event attracted more than 40 people, many of whom were students, high school staff and other visitors.

Bluto said she developed a love for film at a young age and noted that she often created videos on her mom’s iPad.

“As I got older, I decided I loved creating media with my friends, specifically, and I thought, ‘Why not make a career out of it?’” she said. “So over the last four years, I’ve been moving into directing, filming, making videos in media classes and Westfield has such a great capacity for learning in those fields that most schools don’t.”

Bluto, who encourages other students to get involved in such coursework offered at the high school, came up with the idea to create a short film festival as a way to motivate herself to create more media. She had no shortage of support from those around her, including her parents and classmates, in making her idea become a reality.

“It’s been a great way to come together and experience media together one last time before we graduate,” Bluto said.

Representatives from the Heartland International Film Festival in Indianapolis and Michael Lee, professor and department chair at Ball State University’s Department of Media, attended the film festival, which was held in the school’s Learning Center. Bluto said making connections has always been important for her, something that has always been emphasized by her parents, Chris Bluto and Steph Meyers.

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Luci Bluto, center, with her parents, Chris Bluto and Steph Meyers, during the Westfield High School Short Film Festival.

“That’s something my parents have always pushed. Knowing people and creating conversations will get you so much further than anything else in life, and I’ve had really good relationships with a lot of my teachers for a long time,” she said. “And they’ve been supportive of me, and having the support of those adults in my life has allowed me to make events like this. But all these connections have come through conversations I’ve had with adults in my life and things I’ve decided to do just to see what would happen.”

Bluto’s enthusiasm was evident as she managed virtually every aspect of the film festival, ranging from greeting visitors at the door, talking with guests and introducing each of the 10 short films, including her own, “Footnotes.” The 10 short films created and directed by students were judged by WHS teachers and were given awards in different categories.

Bluto’s film was awarded “Best Overall Picture” and also earned the distinction of “Best Director” as part of a brief awards ceremony at the event, which also featured a red carpet and a backdrop that allowed filmmakers, actors and visitors to get their photos taken.

Bluto’s parents were all smiles as they watched her daughter and commended her hard work.

Chris Bluto said it was helpful that his daughter was surrounded by her friends in helping make the festival a success. He wants her to be happy using her creative talents wherever she ends up in life, he said.

“Whatever I think makes her happy will make her most successful,” he said.

Although Bluto said she loves performing, she said her real passion is being behind the scenes and allowing her friends the opportunity to showcase their work. Bluto, who plans to attend Ball State University this fall to major in media and digital video production, said she wants to pursue a career in Los Angeles as a director or in Chicago working on film sets, but is also open to possibilities working in publicity.

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Westfield High School student Luci Bluto watches a film during the Westfield High School Short Film Festival April 22 at the high school. The high school senior created the festival that highlighted 10 films created by students that ranged in genres from horror to comedy to drama. (Photos by Matthew Kent)

John Oestreich, who oversees the communications department at the high school, described Bluto as passionate and very driven. He said her motivation was evident at the festival as she had initially approached him with the idea of creating the event.

“The things she’s passionate about, it’s all or nothing,” Oestreich said. “I’ve got to believe when she gets (to Ball State), she’s going to get every opportunity to hit the ground running and I anticipate her doing great things.”

Bluto also encourages students at WHS to pursue their ideas.

“Westfield High School has one of the most supportive teachers you’ll ever find and they’re always willing to go for an idea,” she said. “Or if you’re passionate about something, they will never shy away from shining light on that, so don’t be afraid to make those connections with teachers, because if a conversation never happens, you’ll never know.”

Bluto said she couldn’t imagine a better way to end her high school career than creating a short film festival.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to end this any other way,” she said. “I’ve had so (many) amazing opportunities my senior year, but to be able to make this opportunity only for myself and so many others, I feel like I’m leaving a legacy and taking care of the people that mean (the) most to me.”

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Meet Luci Bluto

Age: 18

Year: Senior

Parents: Chris Bluto and Steph Meyers

Education: Plans to attend Ball State University and major in media and digital video production