‘Native Boy’ earns award for Pocopson native

Henry Roosevelt’s short film earns first place at USA Film Festival

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Henry Roosevelt, who remembers experimenting with filmmaking at Unionville High, earned first place at the USA Film Festival for  his short film, "Native Boy."

Henry Roosevelt, who remembers experimenting with filmmaking during his freshman year at Unionville High, earned first place at the USA Film Festival this past weekend for his short film, “Native Boy.”

A Pocopson Township native’s short film about a boy chasing the sun continues to enjoy a meteoric rise.

“Native Boy,” a 20-minute narrative by Henry Roosevelt, 27, now a resident of New York City, took first place out of more than 500 entries in the short film competition at the USA Film Festival in Texas on Saturday,

Roosevelt, who just returned from Dallas, said Wednesday that he was thrilled to get the award as well as the $1,000 check that accompanied it. “It was an honor, and I’m extremely appreciative and thankful,” he said.

Although Roosevelt’s win qualifies the film to compete for an Oscar, Roosevelt said his primary focus right now is getting exposure for “Native Boy” so that he can eventually expand it into a feature-length film.  “I’m just like the boy chasing the sun,” Roosevelt said, referencing the film’s title character. “There’s an insatiable need to press on to capture the next goal.”

The allegorical film received a standing ovation from a crowd of more than 100 at its premiere last month in Ambler. It features several scenes that were shot locally, including footage from the Pocopson Home, an East Marlborough landscape, and a Kennett cemetery. Roosevelt said he hopes to schedule a screening sometime this month at the Pocopson Home.

Celebrating the heroism of firefighters and the exuberance of youth, “Native Boy” alternates between the story of a retired firefighter who is writing and illustrating a children’s book, and the boy who may have links to his past who is now chasing the sun.

In its 43-year history, the USA Film Festival has recognized and encouraged excellence in film and video arts. The festival expanded in 1979 with the first National Short Film Competition. Since then, it has awarded over $250,000 in cash prizes to top entries in this category each spring, according to its web site.  

The USA Film Festival is one of about 75 qualifying venues for the Academy Awards. Films are eligible to compete for an Oscar if they receive one of the top prizes at the designated festivals, which include Cannes, or if they are shown commercially for a specified number of times in Los Angeles County, according to the Academy Awards web site.


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