Philip Avdey wins national CSPAN documentary contest


Philip Avdey

Philip Avdey’s interest in filmmaking leads him to explore new topics.

Mandy Wong, Senior Editor

Philip Avdey (‘21) is a proud third-place winner in cable network CSPAN’s 2021 video documentary competition, bagging a $750 prize and publicity for his film. More than 2,300 middle and high school students from around the world sent in their films about the topic of what they would like Congress and the president to address in 2021.

“I figured it would be generic to just do a coronavirus thing. So I thought about what interested me, and I’ve always loved science fiction and space exploration, and that’s what I made my video about,” said Philip Avdey (‘21).

In his six-minute video, Avdey (‘21) channels his love for sci-fi with a creative, Twilight-Zone style opening, and segues into interviews with two astronomers at the Chabot Space and Science Center. With the pandemic, options for face-to-face interviews were unfortunately limited.

“It’s kind of underwhelming, but I just got interviews on Zoom calls and filmed all the talking bits in my bedroom. Proudly edited on iMovie,” said Avdey (‘21).

Pursuing film inside and outside of school, Avdey (‘21) is taking Video Production II this year, as well as editing for fun on his Youtube channel

“Just editing stuff you like generally gets you practice, and practice makes perfect,” said Avdey (‘21). “People say that all the time and honestly it’s true.”

However, his interest in the arts isn’t limited to documentary making. In his free time, he also enjoys producing music and writing.

“I’m in a band working on some still unreleased songs, writing some fiction,” said Avdey (‘21). “ I’m a part of the Amador Writer’s Ensemble club, which is a creative writing club and they also do a literary magazine called The Lighthouse.”

The magazine will be published later this school year, with submissions from students who, like Avdey (‘21), have continued to pursue their passion for art during a tumultuous time.

“Arts are really important for expressing emotions and for escapism…without them it would be hard to get through life without just getting bored,” said Avdey.