Monday, March 03, 2014

White House Student Film Festival, 2014

The White House is presenting the Student Film Festival of sixteen films, each about three minutes or less. They are divided into eight categories: “Young Visionaries” (6), “Future Innovators” (3), “World of Tomorrow” (3), “Building Bridges” (4).  The basic link is here

I was quite impressed with the fact that many students have the opportunity to learn filmmaking in public high school.  When I was substitute teaching, West Potomac High School, in Fairfax County south of Alexandria, VA, had its own separate building for media education.  I remember watching AP chemistry students making a short film to teach the concept of radioactivity, called “Reltonium”, back in 2005, where the students acted as clowns or as atoms.  The kids then used Adone Premier (can be used on Windows).  It seems as though in the White House festival, most editing had been done with Final Cut Pro, only on the Mac.  

I have watched eight of the films.

In the first section:

Stay Curious: Technology in the Classroom”, by Kayla Briet, was shot in “2.35:1” and offered in high definition.  Briet comments that technology affects how we see people, and she talked about poverty, corruption and struggle.

Through the Lens of a Tiger”, Jason Perry shows technology education at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington DC, a school that often appears on “It’s Academic” in the DC area on Channel 4.

Teleportation Investigation of 2014,” by the Extrazzlers, doesn’t quite deliver the idea of going to another universe through a black hole, but it does look at the future of progress,
Technology, Documentary, My Dad an Me”, by Shelly Ortiz”. A high school student in Los Angeles enlists her dad into becoming “executive producer” of her film.
In the second section:
PIP”, the lead character in Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations” and also on Rod Sterling’s Twilight Zone, is high schooler Richard White, who aiks high to become an astronaut, at least in front of his class.  He learns sewing from the computer, and plays chess also, and apparently misses one of Grandmaster Larry Kaufman’s Monte Carlo recommendations as the computer checkmates him in a bizarre middle game.  (Maybe the game was a Sicilian Sveshnikov. You can’t afford to stumble on tactics.)  This was the liveliest film that I watched.

In the third section:

Tomorrow’s Classroom”, by Alexander Emerson, makes the point that “my community is worldwide but my education is localized.”

In the fourth section:

Hello from Malaysia” introduces a girl from that country, communicating first by Skype.  We see scenes from the country only in the end credits.

A Day in the Life of Kyle” presents a student at the David Posnack Jewish Day School.  The catch is that Kyle attends school via robot while he undergoes chemotherapy in a Philadelphia children’s hospital.  

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