Nayeli Monahan, left, made a film called “Trenton Treasure Hunters” about using a metal detector in her back yard. The four-minute film, starring younger siblings Finn and Sadie, was a finalist in the Maine Outdoor Film Festival’s Extra Credit Adventure Edit contest. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAN MONAHAN

Young film maker is finalist in film festival

TRENTON—Nayeli Monahan, a third grader at Trenton Elementary school, became a finalist in a recent film contest organized by the Maine Outdoor Film Festival. The film, “Trenton Treasure Hunters,” was one of 36 short films selected as finalists in the contest. 

In April, the Maine Outdoor Film Festival put out a call for short films for their Extra Credit Adventure Edit contest. The goal of the contest, the announcement stated, was to keep outdoor film enthusiasts busy editing old film footage of their outdoor adventures while staying at home in the time of COVID-19. 

Monahan, at home with her family while attending school remotely, shot a film in her own backyard, starring herself and her younger siblings digging for treasure. The film shows her father Dan standing just outside the frame of the camera with metal detector and shovel, while little sister Sadie rescues earthworms and brother Finn describes do’s and don’ts of metal detecting.  

“You need patience,” Finn says of metal detecting. “You absolutely need gloves. Finn also analyzes what they dig up. Treasures found in the Monahan yard included nails, a hammer head and other tool fragments. The film is educational, entertaining and four-minutes long. It can be viewed on the Maine Outdoor Film Festival website. 

Monahan said she was inspired to make the film because “my dad and my brother were into metal detecting,” and she wanted to document it. Other people might be interested in how to do it, she thought. 

Monahan suspects the tools they found in the yard belonged to the carpenter who built their house, and said that “it was interesting to find clues to local history.” 

“Trenton Treasure Hunters” is Monahan’s first film. She shot the footage on an iPod and taught herself how to edit using computer software. She said she enjoyed doing scene transitions, cutting from one scene to another. 

She told the Islander she plans to make another film, perhaps a sequel. “I’m thinking about making another film about metal detecting,” she mused. Nature meditation is another topic she may cover in a future film. 


Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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