West Branch Students Shine the Spotlight on the Social Impact of Excessive Gaming Habits | News, Sports, Jobs







West Branch’s “Unplugged” Short Film Stars at the Friends4Friends Film Festival September 15, from left, Riley Harris, Dru DeShields, Michael Kanagy, Zack Pinkerton, and Lauren Lee

West Branch students Dru DeShields and Jay Brownlee during the filming of the short film “Unplugged”.

BELOIT – On September 15, students from across the valley gathered for the Friends4Friends annual Film Festival, a showcase of seven short films created by and starring students from around the area about issues facing young people. The event was held at the DeYor Performing Arts Center in Youngstown.

At West Branch, more than 15 students collaborated with the staff and the Friends4Friends campaign to create the group’s short film“Not connected.”In the film, we see Max – a college student who is too involved in video gaming – encountering the ill effects of the habit in a number of areas of his life.

The project began last spring, with the students and staff working together to draft and revise the storyline. Students auditioned for parts and the Friends4Friends team filmed and edited the video, which appeared on YouTube in early September. Michael Kanagy’s performance as Max won the teen Best Actor at Thursday’s ceremony at the DeYor Performing Arts Center in Youngstown.

The Operation Keepsake has been inspiring students for years to become change agents within their schools and communities through the Friends4Friends campaign. Seven films were part of the Friends4Friends Film Festival 2022, highlighting topics such as bullying, sexual pressure, dating abuse, peer pressure, stealing and video games. All of this year’s short films can be viewed at the OK, Inc. YouTube channel or at operationskeepsake.com.




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