WATERVILLE — Never settle for a bad shot.

That was one of the tricks student filmmaker Jacob Caron of Brewer High School said he relied on to win the grand prize Saturday at the 35th annual Maine Student Film & Video Festival.

Caron’s movie “Freedom of the Press” shocked some parents of younger children in attendance with its violence and strong language, but it was good enough to come away with top honors for 2012. The festival, a production of the Maine Alliance of Media Arts, was part of the 15th annual Maine International Film Festival, which ends today.

Caron, 17, who was the film’s director, cameraman and editor, said he used five of his high school friends to act in the film. For being the grand prize winner, Caron received a full two-week scholarship to the advanced young filmmakers class at the Maine Media Workshop in Rockland.

In “Freedom of the Press,” an eager young reporter promises his editor he will infiltrate a reigning New England mob family and come back with a big story and a big picture.

He does.

The film is edgy and realistic, with gun play, good action and ultimately, death.

Measures were taken, as Silvio says in final episode of the “The Sopranos.”

“He’s a die-hard journalist. He does everything it takes,” Caron said. “He’s dedicated to his craft and his profession. That’s what the ending was supposed to show. He’d go all out just to get that one shot, just to get some information, some leads.”

Movies in the festival are reviewed by a panel of judges in three age categories. All film and video genres are welcome, including animation, documentary and narrative.

Student festival funding is provided by Films by Huey.

Other winners in the senior division for students in grades 9-12 included twin sisters Grace and Rachel Powell, of Gray-New Gloucester High School.

Grace Powell won with her spooky silent movie “Ouija,” set in World War I and filmed in black and white. Rachel Powell won for “La Fille sans Coeur,” a musical influenced by the Tin Man who needs a heart in “The Wizard of Oz.”

The Huey Student Award went to Kaylee Millett, of Oxford Hills High School, for her film “Mitchel,” about a young man grappling with his sexual identity in high school.

The festival was founded by Portland filmmaker James “Huey” Coleman, who this year handed over his role as festival director to Corey Norman, of South Portland. Norman founded Film Chowder, the Maine college student film festival, three years ago.

“I really feel like the future of filmmaking for this state is sitting in this room right now,” Norman, 31, said in the lobby of the Waterville Opera House, where the student films were shown Saturday.

He said 30 films were entered into this year’s student film and video festival.

Other festival winners Saturday were “The Sweet, the Sour and the Spicy,” in the pre-teen category, covering children in kindergarten through grade 6. In the junior division, for students in grades 7 and 8, the winner was “Enslaved.” Both winners in the younger categories were enrolled in the New England Film Academy in South Portland.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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