Palmer teens win $25,000 top prize in national video contest

Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Three Palmer High School seniors have won a national video contest, beating out more than 700 entries to take the $25,000 top prize.

Jesse Thompson, Sean Holland and James Klauder learned last week that their 45-second video had won the ''Earn Your Stars and Stripes'' contest, sponsored by clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger. Entrants were required to design a 20- to 50-second video on the theme ''What does the American Flag Mean to Me.''

The trio's production, loosely titled ''License to Dream,'' will be shown on VH1 on Nov. 24 as part of a Hilfiger commercial.

Hilfiger, in a written statement, called the boys video ''creative and inspiring,'' and said ''it spoke volumes about the American spirit, particularly after the tragic events of Sept. 11.''

Holland and Thompson were members of a team that won a School District award this year for best production, editing and cinematography in part for a self-produced science-fiction flick called ''Chaos Factor.'' The team won plane tickets to Hawaii this year after sweeping two of the three categories in an Alaska Society for Technology in Education video contest.

Thompson, Holland and Klauder learned about the Hilfiger contest from a friend. But they couldn't get an entry form locally because there are no Hilfiger outlets in Anchorage. Thompson called an aunt in New Jersey and had her send one from a store near her home.

The three pulled together still and video images they shot in Hawaii and Alaska: farm scenes from Palmer, the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor, cross-country runners, mountains, a sunrise. The three spent a week and a half locked in their rooms working on their computers to put the images together in a video.

''I don't think I saw my parents that entire week,'' Klauder told the Anchorage Daily News.

Klauder and Holland did the editing while Thompson wrote and performed the music. The last just about killed the project. They blew up a sound card, and ended up using a $10 microphone to record Thompson's bass and guitar composition, they said.

The three picked mostly black and white shots then used a computer to highlight red, white and blues in the images. They overlaid the pictures with quotes from leaders like George Washington and Robert F. Kennedy.

The result is a stirring montage backed by Thompson's folksy music. The video starts with the words ''225 years ago, America raised its flag,'' and ends with, ''The American Flag: Your chance to dream.''

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