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Lockwood teen wins best picture at Christian Youth Film Festival

Abigail Reinstedt’s ‘Designing Lies’ earns multiple awards

Abigail Reinstedt (from left), Penelope Riley, Lochlan Drinkwine and Morgan Hancock wait outside the Fox Theater in Bakersfield before the start of the 27th Annual Christian Youth Film Festival on May 2. (Contributed Photo)

LOCKWOOD — Lockwood teen Abigail Reinstedt earned three awards during the 27th Annual Christian Youth Film Festival on May 2 in Bakersfield.

The festival, hosted by Christian Youth Film Society, had 12 films entered. Reinstedt’s film, “Designing Lies,” won Best Picture, Best Application of Scripture and Best Actress for the main character portrayed by Penelope Riley.

Reinstedt was the scriptwriter, director, cinematographer, editor and a supporting actress. Riley was the lead actress. Morgan Hancock and Lochlan Drinkwine helped as crew. All four are members of the True Life Youth Group in Lockwood.

Reinstedt had previous experience in filmmaking when her older sister, Bethany, entered the film “Chosen” in the 2019 festival and won second place as well as Best Application of Scripture and Best Actress for the role portrayed by Reinstedt herself.

Cast and crewmembers from “Designing Lies” accept the top prize of Best Picture in the teen category at the Christian Youth Film Festival on May 2. (Contributed Photo)

Bethany Reinstedt, now 20, is finishing her second year at Cuesta College in film. Abigail Reinstedt, 16, worked on this year’s film with friends she knew from her church youth group.

Both were homeschool students at the time of the filming of “Chosen,” and it was a film class within their homeschooling that the family credited as kicking off interest in filmmaking as something to take seriously.

After creating her film, “Designing Lies,” Reinstedt said her favorite part of filmmaking is the acting.

“I have always enjoyed that challenge of putting myself into the role of the character and portraying them to the best of my abilities,” she said. “I also do enjoy the side of cinematography and directing.”

Reinstedt said she is still figuring out the direction she would like to take her filmmaking, whether to be a hobby or something more of a career.

“I could definitely see myself entering film festivals in the future,” she said.

Penelope Riley (from left), Erick Reinstedt, Morgan Hancock and Abigail Reinstedt work to film one of the movie’s earlier scenes, the job interview, inside the barn on the property of Dennis and Diana Walters in Lockwood. (Contributed Photo)

“Designing Lies” is an 11-minute movie about a teen who gets a job in order to help pay for college, but soon circumstances arise that cause her to lie to her employer.

For faith components, Reinstedt received help from her father, Erick Reinstedt, who is a youth pastor with True Life Christian Fellowship in Lockwood.

“For the most part, I used my knowledge of the Bible and God’s heart,” Abigail Reinstedt said.

In the movie, she plays a friend of the main character who reminds her how wrong it is to lie, even if the excuses to do so seem valid.

Erick Reinstedt said he has noticed a pattern in his daughters’ work with filmmaking, whether it be audio work, color grading or many other elements involved in their films.

“I’ve watched them here editing for hours, a single 10-second moment,” he said. “I’ve been really proud of how they’ve really pushed into the excellence. They’ve not just rested, they’ve pulled a lot of hours to do what they felt would honor God.”

Abigail Reinstedt added, “Those films that seem the most seamless take the most work to be like that.”

Reinstedt said she would like to make another short film, as she enjoys the format, but doesn’t currently have another idea for a film.

“Designing Lies” can be seen on the family’s YouTube page.