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Seniors dominate NOTS awards

Everything from craft glitter to mashed potatoes was called into service for the 16th annual Night of the Stars (NOTS) formal, Feb. 20. The event allowed each class to showcase a feature movie, wear masks and take home favors, while the seniors took home almost every Oscar-like award.

NOTS, which was held at The Grand 1401 in downtown Fresno, featured a masquerade theme and movies made by each class. The seniors of 2010 took home Best Picture for their film, Dodgeball.

The film marks the fourth led by Paige Powell, to whom many seniors credit the NOTS success.

“At first I was intimidated by the juniors [with Twilight] and didn’t know what to expect,” Powell said. “They filmed much longer, so I knew their movie was going to be good; I knew they were going to be our biggest competitor.”

The juniors’ Twilight was the first legitimate movie put out by the class, after being the first class in campus history without a movie last year. Star Cassidy Hutchins won Best Actress, and Best Editor went to Zach Camden.

“I was happy with what we won, and I thought the seniors deserved to win all that they did,” Camden said. “I’m just happy that we got recognized for the work that Cassidy and I put into the movie.”

Hutchins says last year’s lack of movie prompted her involvement.

“We were a failure last year, so I didn’t want another embarrassment, and I wanted to do something that people would remember,” Hutchins said. “I like the Twilight books, but I’m not a huge fan, so I wanted to play Bella right.”

After winning Best Actress, Hutchins says her “method acting” techniques have paid off.

“My mom would say that the brown contacts got me into character,” Hutchins said. “Before we would film, I would prepare by trying not to be too giddy. Bella is totally different from me. I would try to calm myself down, because I am naturally bubbly, so I would listen to slow music and try and get serious.

“[Winning] was totally awesome, and anyone could tell you I was nervous. It was a big deal for me, and I really wanted to win.”

While Hutchins won Best Actress, senior Tyler Combs won Best Actor. As an actor in most of his class films, he cherishes his award as a collaborative effort.

“I’ve always found it very enjoyable to partake in the movies,” Combs said. “I was in it for the fun and it was fun. The award adds to the movie and I’m glad that I got it during my senior year.”

The wins for the upperclassmen came after several years of domination by the class of 2009, especially Andrew Rurik and Mitchell Callisch.

“In years past the class of 2009 were our biggest competitors, and even though we ‘kept up,’ I’m glad that they’re finally out of the way so we can dominate,” Powell said.

Throughout the awards ceremony, Powell was kept constantly running back and forth from the stage to her seat.

“I watched some of the awards footage, and I was mad at myself because I didn’t smile,” Powell said. “I was nervous about what I was going to say, and I’m not a real big public speaker. After I saw the juniors, which was excellent for their class, I was kind of relieved because I felt like ours could stand up to them. After our class had been winning one after another, I kind of figured on Best Picture.”

In addition to the movies, NOTS featured a three-course dinner in a location brand new to the event.

“Mrs. [Robin] Whitford and I worked on NOTS with leadership together. We wanted it to be traditional but at the same time make it new and exciting,” leadership adviser Rob Foshee said. “We brought back the time limit [for the movies] so that people wouldn’t be sitting there for three hours watching movies.”

Although the awards were somewhat unevenly divided between the upperclassmen and the sophomores’ The Pacifier and the freshmen’s He’s the Chick, Foshee says each showed merit.

“Every movie was great in its own way. Even the freshmen are well on their way to being great movie-makers,” Foshee said. “The highlight of the evening for me was seeing everyone simply enjoying each other’s company, enjoying the moment. It was so great to sit at the back and watch everyone love the movies.”

Night of the Stars from Tyler Duerr on Vimeo.

For more information on the individual movies, read the Feb. 12 article, ‘He’s the Chick’ plots comic relief; the Jan. 26 article, Juniors plot ‘Twilight’ comeback; the Jan. 27 article, ‘The Pacifier’ holds hope for sophomores; or the Feb. 16 article, Seniors grasp las movie-making chance. For more photos of creative asking methods, outfits and movie-making, check out the photo page.

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