Butler County teens are now award-winning filmmakers

A trio of local, teenage girl filmmakers won an award recently for their first try in creating a public service announcement video on human trafficking.

Produced through a contest by the Academy of Cinematic Arts in Liberty Twp., the three budding filmmakers won best cinematography in the 72-hour Teen Film Challenge, which included video entrees from teens within a 500-mile radius of Cincinnati.

The three — Lakota East freshman Madelyn Pergrem, her stepsister, freshman Ainslee Lloyd of Franklin High School and recent Franklin graduate Arebella Lloyd — were given two rules as stipulations of the contest.

Their five-minute video had to have the title of “You Never Learn,” and it had to have a surprise ending.

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And the video story had to be conceived, shot and edited into final form within 72 hours.

It was hectic but worth it, said Madelyn.

The contest officials presented the film team — self-dubbed Shrek Defenders — with two random envelopes with the title and rule to have a twist ending, she said.

“Everything else we could do for our plot and whatever we wanted,” she said.

No spoilers, but the story, which can be seen on Vimeo, follows one of the girls as she dangerously befriends a stranger on social media who turns out to be a human trafficking predator.

“We chose the social media aspect because a lot of time people think they know who is on social media but literally anyone could be anybody on social media,” she said. “People don’t know who people are.”

Her step-sister Ainslee Lloyd said the three were “very surprised.”

“This was our first time in doing anything like this and going into a (film) festival. There were so many other film (entrees),” said Lloyd.

Their father, Shane Pergrem, runs a local video production company and he was proud of the girls’ efforts.

“They blew it out of the water,” Pergrem said. “And they were able to collaborate together really well.”

And there may be more awards for the trio in the future as the video is now being judged by two other teen film contests – one included a screening in New York City and the other an international competition - for top honors.

Madelyn said their efforts may lead to careers.

Videography and photography are “definitely fun hobbies that me and my step-sister like to do together,” she said.

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