Film maker honored in C-SPAN competition

Elin Lantz

Senior Andrew Christenson, a previous student of video journalism, recently received an Honorable Mention in the fifth year of C-SPAN’s national news film competition, and was nationally recognized for his achievement. “StudentCam” allows students to submit five to eight minute videos, which discuss important issues such as education, the Iraq war, or (in Christenson’s case) alternative energies such as wind power.

Christenson’s documentary, “Wind Energy: Harnessing the Power,” discussed the efficiencies and possibilities of wind turbines, and managed to finish in the top 75 films out of almost 1000 entries. “I interviewed people from the Hennepin County Environmental Service and the mayor of Medina because they are getting a wind turbine,” said Christenson. “They talked about pros and cons –– that wind energy can be a reality in the future, something we can use as an alternative energy source.”

Christenson chose this topic because of its relevance and the fact that many are not fully aware of its status, especially since it is often considered to be one of the most cost-efficient renewable energy sources. “It was something I wanted to learn about,” said Christenson. “It was a good thing with gas prices and other [current] energy issues. It’s cheaper, and it’s something we can get right here in America.”

Through his research and interviews, Christenson discovered the increasing prominence of harnessing wind energy and implemented that message into his film. “In the future there could be an energy crisis and as wind turbines keep popping up, it’s becoming more prominent in our society, something we can utilize in the future,” said Christenson.

Christenson first started the film for a final project in a video journalism class, and decided to fulfill the option of entering into the StudentCam competition. He spent about two months on the documentary and put much effort into his work. After taking a month just to get an interview with the Mayor of Medina, he struggled to pull together his documentary; he even relied upon his mother to film some of the video in which he reported to the camera himself. “He didn’t do what was easy,” said Mr. Fran Roby, teacher of Christenson’s class, “he got a hold of the right people and is a talented video editor; he is very skillful with the software, and he knows what looks good.”

Mr. Roby first offered this opportunity after attending a workshop for video production teachers three years ago. “They told us about some students who won first place here in Minnesota, and I thought our students could do that [well].” said Mr. Roby.

Yet Christenson’s film was unique in his writing and overall video editing. “He really thought through his message, wrote a good voice-over script that rolled in and that tied in different sound bites,” said Mr. Roby. “He deserves a lot of credit for the honorable mention; he had a very good film,” which can be viewed at

Christenson garnered much attention within his community, even receiving the honor of being the subject for an article in the Star Tribune on March 25. “Lots of teachers [congratulate] me, and there was a lot of recognition. Also getting this can be helpful for my resume,” said Christenson, who hopefully plans to go into film in college.

Mr. Roby hopes to have more winners from BSM and Minnesota in the future. “Anybody can enter who likes to do video editing; they don’t even have to be in a class,” said Mr. Roby, “just as long as they send it in by December 31.”

Experiencing Christenson’s same pride is something hopefully more students at BSM will have the opportunity to know in coming years. “I’m proud of it and learned a lot about wind energy in the process,” said Christenson.

Through his win, Christenson won 250 dollars and hopes to use it for something special: “I’ll probably put it towards a tattoo.”