Vero Film Fest winner travels to Toronto for prize

VERO BEACH – When Caleb Wild submitted his film, Cycle in the NEXT UP! Young Filmmakers’ Competition at the 2017 Vero Beach Wine + Film Festival, he thought he might be wishing on a star.

“The competition is so fierce for festival screenings, I was thrilled to be accepted,” he said.

Luckily for the Tampa Team despite Hurricane Irma’s thrashing of the west coast of Florida he was still able to board a flight to Toronto for his dream destination experience.

As the First Place Winner at this year’s festival, Caleb earned the opportunity to shadow Peabody Award Winning Director and VBWFF Chair Jeff Woolnough on the set of the critically acclaimed show, The Expanse.

“He’s a very smart young man and will definitely make a living in this industry,” said Mr. Woolnough after Caleb’s visit on set. “It’s just a question of where he’s going to land.”

His award-winning short film portrays a teen aging out of the foster care system, scrambling to determine his future, whose plans are suddenly interrupted by the appearance of his biological father.

At a time when arts education funding is being cut at many public and private educational institutions, the high school senior at Ambassador Christian Academy in Tampa is the poster child for investing in the talents of our creative youth. The young self-taught filmmaker and writer has been recognized by 20 film festivals so far, garnering film prizes from several competitions including: Golden Gate Award For Youth Work at the San Francisco International Film Festival and Best International Screenplay from The Next Film Festival in Denmark.

“Outstanding. It could be a feature film. So sophisticated. A real talent here,” commented Sara Books, creator of Pretty Little Liars, on his winning film entry at the Scout Film Festival.

“The Vero Beach Wine + Film Festival is thrilled to have had the opportunity to screen the work of such an outstanding young talent,” said VBWFF founder Jerusha Stewart. “The festival exists to champion independent filmmakers of all ages.”

Caleb’s film reflected the festival theme of “a life worth living,” which is inspired by Suncoast Mental Health Center, the event beneficiary. “Overall, I truly hoped that with this piece, audience members would walk away with a new perspective on the choice that we each have to not repeat patterns handed to us. It is a power that has been given to each individual, but is easily missed,” said Caleb.

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