Main Line Private School Freshman Wins Two Short Film Awards

Devon Prep Ninth Grader Paul Malikkal is on his way to making his dreams come true.
DEVON, Pa. - April 16, 2014 - PRLog -- When Devon Prep Freshman Paul Malikkal of Collegeville, was just seven years old his father gave him a small video camera.  Paul hadn’t asked for it, but his dad thought he would like it. Little did Mr. Malikkal know not only was he helping his son develop an interesting hobby but a career as well.

Paul recently won two awards for short films he created.  He won first place for his film “Movie Time” (, at the WHYY Youth Media Awards which honors the best media produced by youth in grades 6-12 in the Philadelphia region.  More than 165 entries were submitted and only 15 films were awarded prizes.

Last summer Paul also won an award for his film “It Came from the Woods” (, in the Short Film Contest of Blob Fest 2013. This contest required entries be no more than 5 minutes long and centered on the movie The Blob, Blobfest, and/or sci-fi in general.  It seems that little video camera turned out to be the perfect gift.

“I don’t really remember the first thing I shot, I just remember filming my sister, my dad and all my family,” the ninth grader said. “I thought using a camera was kind of cool.”  Paul and a friend soon began creating little stories with that camera. They were inspired by the films they would watch like Indiana Jones movies.  Although he still has those first films, he says he wouldn’t broadcast them. “They’re pretty embarrassing, but pretty funny to watch.”

Paul graduated to small digital cameras and then his mother’s Canon DSLR. He has attended film camp where he learned to create better and longer films. “I made a few little comedy films and that’s where I started to finally make some bigger leaps in terms of my creativity,” he said. “They were coherent stories which was something I didn’t have before. And people seemed to like them.  Then I made “It Came from the Woods” last summer and I submitted that to Blobfest in Phoenixville and it won.”

Paul had entered the WHYY contest before but he never won. But with “Movie Night,” he felt he had a pretty good chance.  “I started writing this script and I got a few of my friends who I thought were good for the parts and we filmed it in two nights,” he said. “I edited it and I was really happy with the final product.  I tried to submit my films to WHYY before but they never got picked. And I can’t blame them, they were not very good.   But I was pretty confident that this one actually had a shot at winning.”

Although he aspires to be a director, Paul says he enjoys all aspects of filmmaking including writing, shooting and editing. “I like the writing. It’s a lot of fun to get all your ideas out there,” he explained.  “Shooting is so much fun, especially if the actors are your friends.  And editing – that’s fun too because you get to see what your final product is going to look like. And that’s really rewarding.”

When he’s not filming or writing or thinking about filming and writing, Paul is watching films and learning. “I just really like telling stories. I like making dramas. I like coming of age films about teenagers who are making realizations about life,” he said.

As for the future, he hopes to go to NYU to study film. Then he hopes he’ll have a career in Hollywood as a director. “I want to direct a little bit of everything,” he said. “I do want to make some films that are more independent because I like independent films. The director can have much more control over what he’s doing. I hope I can make successful independent films.”

With two awards under his belt at the age of 15, success seems likely.

Devon Prep is an independent, Catholic, college preparatory school for young men in grades six through 12 conducted by the Piarist Fathers.  Nearly 300 students attend Devon Prep which is located on a 20 acre campus in Devon on Philadelphia’s Main Line. Or more information call 610-688-7337 or visit

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