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ALPENA, Mich.–11th grade students William Shultz and Nicholas Lusardi set out on a task to kill two birds with one stone.

First, create awareness on protecting the Great Lakes.

Second, take home the Thunder Bay International Film Festival prize.

The mission was accomplished with their short film titled 2038. Writer and actor William Shultz explains why he was so passionate about the project.

“I think the great lakes is something that’s very unique, there’s not really something else in the world that’s like it, and its both our native homes and i think its something that’s just very special and we got to keep it clean. We’ve witnessed other times where the great lakes have been kind of abused and taken advantage of and we’ve been able to clean them up but eventually at one point we’re not going to be able to,” said Shultz.

Nearly two months of rigorous worked and late night editing sessions led repeat winner Nicholas Lusardi to reflect on how it feels not only to win but to inspire others in the film making industry.

“Its extremely special and rare to feel something that rewarding for something that you love doing. Its kind of a unique thing that I feel like anyone can do. Even though I’ve won a few times I don’t think that I’m the only one who can win. There’s plenty of people who can step up and do it. Will’s never done it before and he did a great job. I was just following him throughout the whole process. And so if you like telling stories and you just pick up a camera, you can have success with it even at the local level. I think that’s pretty cool.”

The team took home first place in the competition, but even with all the recognition, they have one final message of appreciation.

“I’d like to than everyone who participated in the making of 2038.”

To watch the film 2038, click here.