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Westport Teen Rolls Into Film Industry

When Staples High School senior Alanna Morton signed up for a film class elective this past fall, she wasn't expecting it to change her life. But as part of a class assignment, Alanna created a stop-motion animation film . Not only was her film accepted into the upcoming Westport Youth Film Festival, it also helped seal her acceptance into film school.

"Last year, I wouldn't have even considered going to film school," said Alanna, who, until taking the film class, was set on pursuing acting in college. This fall, she'll be attending the SUNY-Purchase Film Conservatory. "It seems I've found the thing I really like doing. I can definitely see this becoming a lifelong career."

Her film, "The End of You Too," is one of the 50 student-made films showing Saturday at the eighth annual Westport Youth Film Festival . About 200 films from around the world were submitted for entry. Her film is also entered in the "Best in Connecticut" category.

In her film, Alanna focuses on the importance of recycling by following the journey of an improperly disposed water bottle. She even used recycled materials as props.

"The main concept is to show how persistent plastic is," Alanna said. The process of making the props appear to move is known as stop-motion animation. This means, instead of filming continuously, Alanna had to move her props in small increments between individually photographed frames. When the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence, it creates the illusion of movement.

"The [main animation sequence] probably took me about 15 hours," Alanna said. "It required a lot of patience — more patience than I knew I had."

From beginning to end, Alanna said it took 24 to 36 hours to complete the nearly four-minute film. And although she said she had to push herself through it at times, she's proud of her accomplishment.

"I would do it again," she said. "It's great seeing something I created getting such good responses. And, it got me into college."

View Alanna's entire film on YouTube here .

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