Teenage director from Roslyn to screen short at high school film fest

Bill San Antonio

While attending Northwestern University’s National High School Institute program in television and film production this summer, Roslyn High School senior Griffin Berkenfeld pondered a question he said his friends think about often: How will I know when I’ve found “the one?”

So he wrote a script, and the program’s acting unit provided the cast, and Berkenfeld and Co. produced the short film “Time Stops,” which portrays characters who do not age past 18 until they meet their soulmates. 

“You can never know for sure, and that’s why I thought it was such an interesting topic. What if you could know for sure?” said Berkenfeld, who directed. “You could be sitting there with someone for years and neither of you would age. How would you handle that?”

The film follows the tribulations of best friends Cora and Athena, who begin to spot gray hairs despite remaining single.

“A whole lot of people around me are looking for their soulmate and many find it in unexpected places,” he said. “That’s what I really wanted to explore in the film.”

“It’s the world they live in. Some don’t age at all, some age right away when they turn 18,” he added. “It’s an established rule of that world.”

Berkenfeld said the reaction to “Time Stops” has been positive both at Northwestern and in Roslyn, where he was honored by the district’s Board of Education on Sept. 10.

“Time Stops” was also selected for screening at the 2015 All-American High School Film Festival at the AMC Empire Theaters in Manhattan from Oct. 9-11. 

“It’s unbelievable, really, because I put so much effort into this film,” Berkenfeld said. “For people to recognize it and think it’s great enough to be in a film festival, it’s really rewarding.”

Berkenfeld began making movies with friends around the time he started high school and said he plans to pursue television and film production in college.

“Time Stops” is available on Berkenfeld’s YouTube page, Griffin Nash Films.

“It’s really grown a lot since I started,” Berkenfeld said of his films. “I’ve written scripts, added equipment. I’m trying to make them as professionally as they can be.”

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