Students win Best of Show at 51st Annual Michigan Student Film Festival

University Liggett School students, Camron Herbert, Carsten Higbie and Giorgio Malkoun won the Best of Show award at the 51st annual Michigan Student Film Festival. The trio was recognized during a ceremony in the historic Detroit Film Theater at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The sophomores studied the Civil War and reconstruction in U.S. history class with Brad Homuth.

Herbert, Higbie, and Malkoun’s film “Rails of the Republic” tells a the tale of the rising power of railroads in post-Civil War America and how this technology helped build economic prosperity and social mobility while helping define the idea of what it means to be an American.

“What I found very unique about the railroads, as we were researching was that the railroad had a substantial impact on everyone. It made a difference in the lives of the poor and rich, black and white, men and women. Everyone in some way, shape, or form had been affected by this new form of transportation,” Herbert said.
During their research, the trio conducted interviews with local railroad experts at The Henry Ford, and at the University of Michigan and learned how the railroad played a part in the outcome of the Civil War.

“One interesting thing that I learned, while conducting the interviews, is that the Union railroads in the north had much more track mileage than the Confederate railroads. This advantage that northern railroads had allowed the Union to transport supplies for the war effort in a much more efficient manner, which made a big impact on the outcome of the war,” Higbie said.
Rails of the Republic also won national recognition in C-SPAN’s 2019 Student CAM film competition.

The Michigan Student Film Festival, one of the longest-running student festivals in the nation, provides a platform for student filmmakers in grades K-12 to showcase their work in a competitive setting outside the classroom.


University Liggett School, a top Metro Detroit private, independent school, is located at 1045 Cook Road Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236 313-884-4444