Landrum ‘Reins’ in Another State Title

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Landrum ‘Reins’ in Another State Title

Lauren Landrum and crew pose outside the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas on March 5, 2019. (Stacy Short/The Talon News)

Lauren Landrum and crew pose outside the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas on March 5, 2019. (Stacy Short/The Talon News)

Lauren Landrum and crew pose outside the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas on March 5, 2019. (Stacy Short/The Talon News)

Lauren Landrum and crew pose outside the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas on March 5, 2019. (Stacy Short/The Talon News)

Ashlynn Roberts, Reporter

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Lauren Landrum poses with Chief Paul Cairney in front of the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas on March 5, 2019. (Stacy Short/The Talon News)

Senior Lauren Landrum recently earned her third consecutive state title after placing first with her film, Angels of Mercy. The seven-minute documentary follows Ranch Hand Rescue, a local non-profit organization that pairs abused horses with traumatized victims to help them overcome painful experiences.

Angels of Mercy was created to spread awareness about the impact of animal therapy with mental health as it relates to creating a happier and more healthy life,” Landrum said. “More and more studies are revealing that there is a direct and beneficial outcome when adding a horse into mental health treatments. As a result, the rate of people seeking help through alternative therapy has been increasing.”

One man interviewed in the film, Argyle Police Chief Paul Cairney, discussed the personal impact animal therapy had on him after returning home from military service.

“Lauren’s whole story was about how horses help rehabilitate people after things they have been through, and that’s been part of my story since my time in Baghdad in 2008,” Cairney said. “When I came back from there, I wasn’t doing very well and I got diagnosed with PTSD. I didn’t even know such things as horse therapy even existed, but just hanging out with my own horse were the only times I felt peace for a while. That’s where I really could let myself go and let go of my stresses.”

Landrum directed her film with the assistance of five other students.

“I can’t say I was shocked we won, because I’ve never known Lauren to lose,” junior and teammate Andrew Fritz said.  “I was really excited that all of our hard work throughout the semester and creating our film had paid off whenever we made it to state and won gold.”

Film teacher Stacy Short oversaw 16 films that were worked on by a combined 67 students.

“It is a very difficult process to put together a film,” Short said. “Being able to piece together hundreds of hours of video footage takes talent, time and dedication. Those kids that are truly dedicated to it and truly want to tell a story are the kids that will persevere and do well.”

Last year, Landrum’s state-winning film, Mustang Strong, documented the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and its lasting effect on victims.

“As a director, Angels of Mercy was my second film, and to say that I won a State Championship is so exciting and humbling,” Landrum said. “I am so honored that I was able to share the stories I did and humbled to see that it is helping others.”

Since freshman year, Short has taught Lauren and played a critical role in Lauren’s film career. 

“I have known Mrs. Short for four years and I can easily say she has taught me many life lessons and skills that I will use throughout my career,” Landrum said. “Mrs. Short cares about her students so deeply and has always wished the best for us. She knows how to push her students to be the best they can be while still giving us constructive criticism.”

Animals are a proven way to help an individual overcome a traumatic experience.

“Making a connection with an animal is an amazing thing,” Cairney said. “I’m a believer in it. I really am. What God has created in the animals is amazing, and I kind of learned that in a whole new way.”

The film went up against 718 other state-worthy projects before capturing the state title. 

“I think the aesthetic and cinematography is outstanding, but the thing that makes her story unique and the thing that makes her story thrive is the people and what they have experienced and how she is able to display that visually,” Short said. “I think it is a really important story, and I think it can help a lot of people.”

Production for the film began last August, but planning started in March of 2018.

“It is a masterpiece, it is truly a brilliant bit of work that they made,” Cairney said. “It is an excellent documentary, so I was just excited for them because I know how much hard work they had put it.”

Being a successful film student requires creativity, passion and dedication in each project.  

“I think when most people think of film students, they think of nerdy kids, which is true, but it’s also so much more than that,” Landrum said. “Students in film put over one hundred hours into their films, with the hopes of watching their own film on a big screen at the historic Paramount Theater in Austin.”

Landrum spent over one hundred hours brainstorming, interviewing, filming and editing before the final film was completed. 

“It is a very difficult process to put together a film,” Short said. “Being able to piece together hundreds of hours of video footage takes talent, time and dedication. Those kids that are truly dedicated to it and truly want to tell a story are the kids that will persevere and do well.”

The film is applicable to all audiences because of its widespread message of hope.

“I hope people take the seven minutes to watch the film,” Cairney said. “The message of the film is important because a lot of students have been through traumatic events in their life and a lot of people after they leave here will go through traumatic events in life. People need to find some healing, and animals are a great way to find that healing.”

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