Students Succeed in Short-Film Competition


From left to right: Areeb Shah, Rabeeka Rajput, and Zeshan Ali, juniors, competed at the annual MIST competition. They placed first out of 11 films, each film representing a different region of the mid-west.

By Neelansh Bute and Abhijit Srirangam, Marquette High School

Restless nights. Copious amounts of teamwork. Rapidly approaching deadlines.

Juniors Areeb Shah, Rabeeka Rajput, and Zeshan Ali faced such challenges as they spent almost three months filming and editing a short film for the annual Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament (MIST).

“This year’s topic was about striving for perfection in an imperfect world,” Shah said. “Our short film is about a student who basically loses everything and so, he goes from a really rich and snobby kid to a really shy and sheltered person. He meets someone who pushes him to become a better person.”

According to its website, MIST is a “program of competitions geared towards bringing high school students together from around the nation to develop leadership, communication, and other creative skills, all while gaining a deeper understanding of Islam and Muslims.”

The three MHS students placed first at the mid-west chapter of the competition in Nashville, TN qualifying them for the national tournament in Detroit, MI. This year marks Ali’s second year participating in the competition; his team qualified for nationals last year as well.

“The team I was part of actually placed third last year,” Ali said. “We got the opportunity to go to nationals in Canada, but we didn’t end up going.”

This year’s team is composed of 35 students that all aided in the acting, filming, and editing of the short film. Shah, Rajput, and Ali were the only MHS students on the team but claimed three out of the five spots on the executive board.

Success at the competition was met with a formidable number of challenges, however.

“I had to skip schools a few times to finish the project on time,” Shah said. “We put about a 100 hours into the project.”

“Making the film was fun but there were a lot of problems,” Rajput added. “I think there were a lot of problems because it was time-consuming so it was hard to get everyone to come to one location all the time.”

Nevertheless, the diligent effort paid off for the trio when they won the regional competition leading up to a quite surreal and exciting moment.

“My face went completely red when it was announced,” Ali said. “All of us had an affectionate moment on stage.”

Shah and Rajput felt a similar sense of accomplishment following their win.

“I was shocked. When they announced third and second, I thought we weren’t getting it,” Rajput added.

The students were supervised by Shahzaib Khan, who was assigned to them by the MIST organization. Khan, despite, not being perfectly acquainted with the high-school mindset, found the group to be very intelligent and competent.

“Creating the video was not an easy task,” Khan said. “Just from a coordination perspective, and from a team perspective, they did a really good job of making sure that the video got done by the deadline, so I’m really proud of them.”

The challenges encountered during the three months of production made for quite an experience as the video offered the trio a chance to hone a sundry of skills.

“I learned how to work with difficult people,” Shah said. “I also learned how to better film and edit a video.”

Read the original story here.