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Midvale Journal

CSD film festival teaches life techniques for students

Jun 13, 2018 02:37PM ● By Julie Slama

Quail Hollow’s student council won its third straight Canyons School District’s Film Festival award for Best Elementary Newscast. (Photo courtesy of Quail Hollow Elementary)

By Julie Slama|[email protected]

When Quail Hollow fifth-grader Owen Christensen was younger, he watched his school’s video announcements.

“The more I watched the morning announcements, the more I loved them and knew I wanted to help,” he said.

Little did Owen know that this year, while he participated in the news team, Quail Hollow would win its third straight Canyons Film Festival for Best Elementary Newscast. 

The ninth annual film festival allows students to submit films they create individually or in teams in nine categories: public service announcement, feature, animation, documentary, and newscast, as well as a teacher category, an American Graduate news story category, public service announcement categories and the annual film festival poster contest.

Katie Blunt, district education technology specialist, has said that through filmmaking, students learn skills such as organization and literacy.

“The students start with brainstorming, turn their idea into a story with a storyboard and screen play; they write, they research, they synthesize the information to learn how best to communicate their message,” she said. “It’s a group project, they learn how to collaborate. These are skills that translate into the classroom as well as into the real world.”

Through the process, students learn not only how to create their film, but also how to edit and revise.

“Students learn how to do revisions just like they may have to with a writing assignment in school. We see improvements in films from year to year,” said Blunt, who is the project lead of the film festival.

At Quail Hollow, a dozen student council members, under fifth-grade teacher and student council adviser Nicholas Heinz, are responsible for the weekly announcements. Their equipment is basic: a green piece of fabric for their green screen, microphone and lights purchased from Amazon, an older computer that wasn’t being used in the computer lab for editing, and a point-and-shoot camera to film. 

Fifth-grade member Avery Cornia has learned filming techniques such as using different camera angles for the perfect shots. However, Avery also wanted to add more to the newscasts and learned stop motion through the FireAlpaca app. 

“When I joined the morning announcements, I wanted to add new things, such as stop motion animation,” Avery said. “I had done some coding, but I didn’t know how to do stop motion.” 

Stop motion, a skit for the word of the week, and a decisive theme are some of the distinguishable features of their winning newscast, classmate Brady Deeds said. 

“We tried to make it our best,” Brady said. “We talked about themes and when we planned it out and when it was time to film, we even dressed up as if it were the ’80s with people on the set being nerds, cheerleaders and business (leaders).”

Avery, who dressed like a hippie, said more jokes were added this year to keep viewers’ attention.

Brady said when they introduced the word of the week, they created a skit to better illustrate how to use the word in a sentence.

“In the past, others said the word straight up, but we tried to make ours funny.”

Owen said those improvements have helped the newscast.

“We watched previous years’ newscasts and knew that we wanted to make ours worthwhile but also ‘funner,’ so we had the anchor spice it up so those who were watching had fun too,” he said. 

Being on the news team has helped the students. 

Avery, who said it has helped with giving oral presentations, now wants to continue filmmaking next year in middle school and wants to start an audiovisual club.

Brady said that by working on the newscasts before school it will help him be on time for middle school, which has an earlier school bell. He also said it has given him confidence.

“I used to be very scared to talk in front of people when I was younger. Now I can get up in front of people without that fear,” he said.

Owen said he has made lots of friends through the news team. 

“I’ve gotten to know people, both on the newscast and those around school, and I have really enjoyed learning how to film,” he said. 

Canyons Board of Education member Steve Wrigley, who applauded the winners of the film festival, said the festival gives students opportunities. 

“They’re learning new skills that will be useful to them in school and life,” he said, adding that he and his wife have created some videos for Willow Canyon as well as other films. “It’s great for these kids to be recognized for their creative talents. We applaud those who are talented in the arts.” 

Other film festival winners in newscast include Union Middle School and Jordan High School.

In public service announcements, the winners were Darius Potupchik and Brandy Zarate, Midvale Elementary; Katie Ritter and Tiana Keetch, Indian Hills Middle; and Emily Erickson, Hillcrest High. 

The winners of animation include Lizzie Crockett, Peruvian Park Elementary; Lucie Packer and Ellie Pinnock, Draper Park Middle; and Justie Marinez, Corner Canyon High.

The best documentary winners are Anna Sokol and Izzibelle Hansen, Sprucewood Elementary; Makena Lelepali, Midvale Middle; and Colton Ebert, Caleb Christiansen, Chris Moore, Tyler Kimball, Dallin Nowotny, David Thayne and Ethan Crittenden, Entrada High Draper Campus. 

The feature film winners are Burke Gehret, Crescent Elementary; Sarah Newman, Jacob Thomsen, Katie Kosk and Paisley Reber, Eastmont Middle; and Parker Olsen, Jaxson Wilde, Brady Jorgenson and Cate Gillingham, Brighton High. 

Wade Harman, of Entrada High Draper Campus, won the teacher best film with “The Wood Shaper — A Story of Lifelong Learning.”

The American Graduate news story winners were Colton Ebert, Caleb Christiansen, Chris Moore, Tyler Kimball, Dallin Nowotny, David Thayne and Ethan Crittenden, Entrada High Draper Campus; and the American Graduate public service announcement winners were from Midvale Elementary.

Draper Park Middle’s Jake Wixom won the film festival poster design contest.