2014 grads win film festival


Al Huang (submitted)

Ryan Huang and Maureen Gleason pose on the red carpet with their award for Best Student Film

It is a dream come true for former Owatonna High School students Ryan Huang and Maureen Gleason. The two University of Minnesota- Twin Cities freshmen have had a whirlwind summer with their film The Root of Evil. Over the weekend the two attended  the Catalina Film Festival and won the award for Best Student Film. The film was taped in Owatonna and features many current and recent OHS students.

The film festival was a huge success for both Huang and Gleason, but their college plans have not changed. Gleason’s plans have zeroed-in, while Huang said, “I am still on the bio/pre-med track, but I plan to continue film-making throughout college. It may lead me away from my intended occupation, but it’s too early to say now.” Huang and Gleason have also won Laurels at Indie Fest, ITSA Film Festival and the Global Film Competition. They won Best Student Film at the Colorado Film Festival in addition to the aforementioned Best Student Film at the Catalina Film Festival. The pair have recently been accepted to the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. This festival is a little more special to them because a few years ago, Fort Lauderdale premiered The Artist, the 2011 film that inspired them to make a movie.

While at the festival,  Huang and Gleason had the opportunity to meet famous celebrities while being celebrities themselves. The celebrities that attended this film festival were Jordin Sparks, William H. Macy, Andy Garcia, Roman Coppola and Emmy Rossum. Making this film festival something that Gleason and Huang will never forget. Gleason added on the experience that, “People were astounded by our age. Throughout the week of the festival, we never really told anyone how old we were. They knew we were student film makers, but they probably just assumed we were currently attending a film school. It was when we were accepting our award that these industry professionals found out we had created this film in high school, and that neither of us were film or theater majors. Let me tell you: the gasps were real.” Although this may be one of the first major projects, Gleason and Huang promise that this will not be the last. Their production company is called Flaming Gnomes Studios. Learn about their film, look at photos and contact them on their website at  http://www.flaminggnomestudios.com/.