An aspiring director and cinematographer from Sanibel is well on her way to paving a successful career from the shores of Southwest Florida all the way to Hollywood.
Last month, NBC-2 meteorologist Robert Van Winkle hosted the 2011 Lee County Film Festival. This was the biggest year ever for the red carpet event, with 350 films entered and over 1,000 students participating from public and private schools in Lee County.
Sarah Adler, a sixth grade student at The Sanibel School, won several awards in the middle school age group. Sarah's film "The Music of Danny Morgan" won first place in the music video category as well as the " Best in Show" award.
Along with trophies, Sarah won $150 for The Sanibel School.
Adler's video features Morgan's song "Sunset Time" from the CD "It's Always Summer." Sarah set the song to island scenes she filmed on both Sanibel and Captiva as well as some footage filmed in Hawaii last summer.
One of the stumbling blocks to making a music video is getting permission from the artist and the publisher for the rights to use a song without paying a huge royalty fee. When asked for permission, Morgan generously allowed Sarah the use of the song in making the award winning video.
Adler also won first place in documentary category for her film, "My Sister Carly In The U.S. Navy." She originally made this film for the Veteran's Day assembly at The Sanibel School. In addition, Sarah took home second place in the drama category for her movie trailer, "The Legend of Roxy."
Despite winning several prestigious recognitions, Adler remains humble when asked about how it feels to win several awards at the Lee County Film Festival.
"I thought I might win for the Danny Morgan music video, but when I also won the other awards, it was a complete surprise," said Adler, who noted that she won first place at last year's LCFF as a fifth grader in the comedy category.
Sarah attended a student film making camp at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. last summer and plans to continue her interest in filmmaking.
"I'm definitely going to enter the Film Festival again next year," she said, adding that she would like to pursue a career as a director or cinematographer. "I've already shot two comedy skits this summer and plan to do a lot more shooting on the beach. I'm lucky to live in a place where nature and the environment is so beautiful."
But after having won awards for music video, drama, comedy and documentary, Sarah was asked what genre films she would most enjoy making as a professional. She answered without hesitation.
"Definitely comedy," said Adler. "I can do a variety of things, but I think I enjoy doing comedies more because I like making people laugh."
Local musician Danny Morgan, left, and aspiring filmmaker Sarah Adler pose for a picture together.