Filmmaker Gets Noticed

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Zev Vel  Photo Credit | Adam Bigelow ‘12

Having your film accepted to a film festival is a pretty big deal. Having it accepted to four festivals is a really big deal. And doing it when you’re only 17 years old?

That’s pretty extraordinary, says filmmaker and first-year student, Zev Vel, who recently screened his documentary short, The Symbol of Peace, at the 19th annual Austin Film Festival & Conference.

In his short career, Vel has managed to work his way on to more than 50 film sets.

“It’s all about connections,” he says. “You get into one film as an unpaid production assistant and meet someone there who’s working on their own film, where you go work as a grip.” In this way, he’s worked his way from jobs on the short film Persephone to a Blondie music video to the feature film In Our Nature.

His own short documentary, The Symbol of Peace, has screened at the Woodstock Film Festival -- where it sold out -- and Peace River Film Festival since its premiere at the MovingMedia Student Film Festival back in June. It was screened twice in Austin, on October 20 and 21 at 1 p.m. -- both screenings sold out!

The film investigates the history and significance of the peace sign, a symbol very familiar to Vel in his hometown of Woodstock, N.Y. “We are surrounded by the symbol,” he says. “It’s part of our daily landscape. But I found that there are many different feelings about what the peace symbol means.”

Zev Vel and Meredith Basler
Photo Credit | Adam Bigelow ‘12

Zev’s next project? The Visual Narrative Project - Bring a Story, We Bring it to Life! Zev is partnering with junior Meredith Basler to adapt a short story (2-15 pages) into a movie. They are looking for stories from the community ‘where stories are made every day’, and encourage anyone of any age (students, professors, staff, and families or friends are ALL included) to submit a story!

Read more about Zev in a recent Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly profile: