Meet Me in a Minute: Sydryl Denila


By Thea Gonzales


How many seniors does it take to parallel park a car? According to senior Sydryl Denila, three: one to shout “TURN THE WHEEL” several times, one unlicensed driver to make sure that the car doesn’t hit anything, and one tired driver that eventually lets the first one park for her. To many others, this may seem like a major inconvenience; for Denila, it is just another story that she can add to her collection of adventures with friends.

As an amateur film maker and photographer, Denila spends her time shooting photos and creating videos that she displays on her YouTube channel, TheStartSed. This creativity manifests itself in every aspect of her life: her keen eye and ambition toward making art allows her to find beauty where most wouldn’t look.

“I have this weird fascination about old things. You can see– everything in my room is pretty much hand-me-downs. That clock? I found it in a trash can, I dried it off, and I fixed it with my dad. People think that throwing away stuff– perfectly good stuff; if there’s a scratch, you can just paint over it– is just fine. I also find happiness thrift shopping. At first, when I moved here, I thought that thrift stores were for people with low income, and then I started realizing that when you go thrift shopping, you can find something awesome: something unique that people take for granted and just throw away,” Denila said.

Though she transferred to Niles West from a high school in Chicago (and previously, Ilo Ilo National High School for the Arts in the Philippines), she has been able to branch out in her two years here and find a community of people who understand and encourage her passion for making films.

“What makes me happy is anything related to art and music. I realized that I have a love for photography, videography, and film making. The first time I moved to the U.S., I said that I wanted to keep making films. One of the reasons I keep going is because of my parents believing in me, my sister, my friends always telling me to never stop making films. I love having that supportive group of people,” Denila said.

Denila behind-the-scenes of a music video pre-production.

Finding encouragement as an amateur artist can be daunting, especially when coming to high school without the connections made in middle school. However, Denila has found a strong circle of friends that not only appreciates her talent but wants to be a part of her projects.

“I met Sydryl in my algebra II class. She’s so nice and easy to talk to. Also, she’s extremely creative and is constantly creating new things and working on new projects. She is also extremely ambitious and has lots of plans and ideas and creations that she wants to make. She’s also very funny and loves to have fun and is always up for an adventure. She helped us film our APES project videos, and it’s always really enjoyable to be a part of her ideas,” senior Lily Matteson said.

Denila’s ambition and creativity have also inspired her sister, who also has her own YouTube channel.

“One thing about her that people don’t know when they see her is that she’s a deep thinker. She always analyzes things before she gives out her opinion, and she inspires me by the way she always proves the people around her wrong. She knows what she’s capable of, and she’s not afraid of showing people that. She also inspires me by the way she just doesn’t care about what people think. She just does her own thing without caring what people think, which I love about her,” sophomore Gian Denila said.

On Denila’s desk are two plastic jars of money: one labeled “equipment” and another labeled “adventures.” Though the next year brings with it the uncertainty of a future without high school’s safety net, Denila is ready for all of the exploring she has to do.

“What’s kept me going is the love for film making. Even if people tell me they’re not that great, I look at myself in the mirror every morning and ask, ‘Is it worth it to keep going? Is it worth it to keep making films for nothing?’ I’m not getting paid, not getting popular for it — you see this 18 year old kid the same age as me making it big with 35,000 followers or 1 million followers… it’s not about the followers. It’s about showing people your creative side. You have to accept that everybody is learning something. One year from now, all I can tell you is that I’ll keep making films, and I’ll never stop making films,” Denila said.

Video originally found on Denila’s Youtube channel TheStartofSed.