By Raychel Harvey-Jones  

Billy Shreve Wins Mendez Award

Billy Shreve takes home the 2016 Mendez Award. The award is the Maryland International Film Festival's   highest honour.

Shreve had a simple concept: use the excitement of making films, for a purpose. He knew of the terrible statistics in Maryland concerning drug overdoses and deaths.

He pitched the idea to the State of Maryland, and a pilot program was started in Frederick County Public Schools. From that idea, the Classmates4Life anti-drug student film contest was born.

It attracted nearly 100 entries from elementary, middle and high school students. The nine winners are being shown during the Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown in the first-ever partnership of this kind in Maryland. 

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Billy Shreve teamed up with the Superintendent of Schools in Frederick County and asked students to create short videos explaining why drugs were dangerous.

The Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown's top award, the Mendez Award recognizes Billy Shreve's contributions, not only for film, but also for contributions to the anti-drug educational effort, and excellence in contributions to quality of life, and for support of the independent spirit. The award will be officially announced and presented at the opening night of the festival on Friday, April 1st, 2016 at the Maryland Theatre.