• 41°

Chesy student takes first in Appy film fest

Francesca Karle is having a big month.

Just a week after graduating as valedictorian from Chesapeake High School, her documentary on the plight of the homeless, "On the Rivers Edge," took home First Place for Best Young Filmmaker in the Appalachian Film Festival in Huntington, W.Va.

The film actually began its life as a Girl Scout project, before netting Karle an EMMIE Award from OUS for best documentary and winning the student film competition in the Spring West Virginia International Film Festival.

The young filmmaker also received national attention when she was profiled on CBS News' "The Early Show," which honored Karle as an American hero.

In this most recent festival in Huntington, Karle said she was competing against 100 others in the "Best Young Filmmaker" category, and hers was one of only three entries to be shown at the festival.

Though one might think that Karle is used to having acclaim heaped upon her by now, when it was announced that she had won first place, her response was still one of shock.

"I just started crying because I didn't really expect it," Karle said. "It's kind of a big award and I never thought the film would go this far, that I'd get all this attention. But I know it was made for a purpose. I know God wants people to see it, and change, hopefully."

Though the valedictorian isn't sure how this all happened, but she's pretty sure it's not because of her.

"I think it was likeŠGod helped me make it and I think that there was a purpose for it," Karle said. "And obviously with all the recognition, and all the people wanting to buy it it's clear that he did have a purpose for it. I never could have done it had God not helped me, I knew nothing about cameras or anything like that."

Karle is currently in talks to travel to the Sundance Film Festival to speak about her film. This fall, she will begin working on a double major in pre-medicine and journalism at Marshall University.