Angie Teig’s “A Letter to America” receives accolades

Film resonates with classmates and judges


Emilia Khoury, Staff Writer

America, freedom, and entitlement are often strung together in the same sentence. This summer a film produced by Angie Teig ’23 exploring this chain of words was awarded the Merit Award in the WRPN Women’s International Film Festival. The film, “A Letter to America,” was created in Advanced Film Class— where the students’ final project was to create a short film—led by Upper School (US) Film and Video teacher Christopher Gaines.

Originally, Angie said she wanted to create a film about music which she is very passionate about. However, during the brainstorming phase, where each student brought their ideas to the class and discussed them, Angie said she realized she wanted to take her piece in a different direction.

“I wanted to use the song by Dua Lipa, called ‘Fever.’ Then, when explaining the concepts, I realized how similar it would be to a music video,” Angie said. This motivated her to search for a more personal and unique topic, and she landed on the idea of a letter to America.

Additionally, she said she realized she could tie in her recent interest in influential current topics in our country into her film. Angie looked at how the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were founded on the idea of giving the citizens freedom and disconnecting from the United Kingdom, and how that simultaneously gave Americans a sense of entitlement.

“Thinking about the entitlement that came with freedom is how I decided on this theme for the film, and how I realized I wanted it to be about the entitlement of Americans,” she said.

In the process of designing her film, Angie visualized how she wanted her message portrayed, watched a lot of archived footage, and edited the archival footage. She decided to show footage of American entitlement throughout history and added a vintage feel to clips to emphasize how many of the systemic issues she addressed have been going on for decades.

“I had it all digital on the computer screen where I showed the vintage footage on the screen, but it was not aesthetic and did not convey the clips how I was picturing,” she said.

Mr. Gaines had an old television, so she put that footage on the screen and recorded it from the camera. When deciding on music she knew it had to be powerful, and she landed on “Trademark USA” by Baby Keem.

“I want[ed] it to be an eye-opener, [but I was] being careful about the political message because I wanted people to genuinely want to listen,” Angie said. Her film includes footage of a waving American flag, American monuments, protests, soldiers fighting, and law enforcement.

Another goal of hers was to have both conservatives and liberals look at her film and reflect on American entitlement.

Ultimately, she submitted the film to a festival as part of her class requirement. This was not the first time Angie had submitted her short films to festivals. In her sophomore year, she submitted her final project, “Life is Karate and Karate is Life,” to the Salem Film Festival.

Angie submitted “A Letter to America” to 10 different festivals and three reached back out to her. She was selected for the Women’s International Film Festival Merit Award.

“It means a lot to me because I really wanted people to understand and like my films. So seeing people across the world actually liking it was crazy. Every single time I got a notification [from] these film festivals, I got so excited and I yelled, ‘Oh my God,’ look, I got selected for another one,’” Angie said.

Angie’s enthusiasm for filmmaking was inspiring for her classmates as well, Gabi Martin ’23 said.

“Angie brings a lot of good energy, she is very vivacious and always incredibly invested in what we’re doing,” she said. Gabi was in Angie’s film class during both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. “She always goes really hard for any project that we do. She’s very ahead of the game, which is cool.”

Beau Bialow ’23 said he she has a promising future in filmmaking.

“Angie probably feels like this is only the beginning of her career. It’s definitely awesome to have someone acknowledge your work at such a young age,” Beau said.

Mr. Gaines said each of her films reflects a part of her life.

“Angie usually has a really strong point of view and then is able to match it with a really beautiful aesthetic and strong set of aesthetic choices. So overall, I’m a big fan of her film and her work,” he said.