Local high school student film chosen for South by Southwest

Felicity Anderson is the writer, director, editor and cinematographer of her short film, "Before".
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 5:36 AM CDT
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - Not many people can say they’ve had a film chosen for South by Southwest, but one local high schooler is adding her name to the list.

Felicity Anderson is a senior at Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow, but she’s also a filmmaker, and her short film, “Before” was chosen for SXSW.

Anderson said she loves storytelling and art, and filmmaking is a way for her to combine those passions into something tangible.

While she had been working on the script for about two years, Anderson said the piece was made in the span of a month and a half, which she said is a short period of time for a project like this. Anderson said she adapted the script, which was supposed to be for a longer film, into the five minute piece, which is about a high schooler who learns he can time travel.

Her classmates, Ezekiel Payne and Megan Sloane, acted in the film. Anderson is the writer, director, editor and cinematographer. She said she worked for hours on the film every day, sometimes in her other classes, while juggling other school work and a part-time job.

Anderson said she submitted the film on the last day they were open, and she felt accomplished and a little nervous afterwards. She said finding out her film was accepted was astonishing.

“I had to sit there and really process it and take it in because that email was sitting right in front of me that I had hoped to see and I wasn’t entirely sure if it was real,” Anderson said.

Even thought it was late at night, Anderson said she immediately told her actors, who were just as thrilled.

“I went and I woke up my parents who were also sleeping, and talked to them about it,” Payne said. “I was just very ecstatic.”

“I ran to my mom and I was like ‘we got into South by Southwest.’ That’s crazy,” Sloane said. “I would never believe that that could happen in a million years.”

Anderson plans to pursue filmmaking in college--she plans to attend the University of Texas at Arlington this fall. While she knows she has room to grow, she is excited about what it means for her film to be chosen for the festival.

“This is not my peak, but it’s just very validating for where I am now, in what I can do, to have this large festival that is incredibly important say I like your work, I want to see more and I want to showcase this for you,” Anderson said.

Both Sloane and Payne said the selection meant a lot to them as they think of their future careers as well.

“It feels good,” Payne said. “It feels like a way of legitimizing how I feel about my acting. It’s very important to me.”

“It feels a little unreal, like I could never imagined being a part of something so amazing and so cool,” Sloane said. “And the fact that I am a part of it is something that...I’m going to tell my kids about this.”

South by Southwest is underway now, and Anderson’s film is part of the Texas High School Shorts Program, which is available online. You can find more information the SXSW website.

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