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Draper Students Win Big at Canyons District Film Festival

Jun 29, 2016 10:40AM ● Published by Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com


Entrada High Draper campus teacher Wade Harman knows a thing or two about films. Not only does he teach his high school students filmmaking skills, coaching them to be victorious at the Canyons District Film Festival, but he also has entered and won the teacher film award three times.

This year, in addition to Harman winning the teacher film category with “Second Chances,” Entrada High Draper students won all the entries of the American Graduate category.

 “American Graduate was new this year,” Katie Blunt, district education technology specialist and the project lead of the film festival, said. “They approached us and wanted to be part of the film festival so there were awards in what a champion is, student success stories who have overcome challenges and those who have helped motivate others to graduate. And for the first time, we will be showing films on UEN this summer.”

 Other categories in the seventh annual Canyons District Film Festival include elementary and secondary public service announcement, animation, newscast, documentary, feature film and poster contest.

 Draper Park Middle School students swept every middle school category as well as the poster contest.

Jessica Pearce, who teaches journalism and theater, encourages all Draper Park students to participate in the film festival.

“I teach broadcast journalism, and a major part of our curriculum is visual storytelling, video and audio editing and camera angles,” she said. “The film festival requires all of these skills and it gets students excited to use their skills.”

On April 21, film festival winners received movie film-canister trophies and bags of prizes.

“I’m glad my students are getting recognized for their hard work,” Harman said. “There are so many things they’re overcoming, so to be able to participate and being motivated to do it, is a big accomplishment for them.”

Supported through the district, Entrada High Draper students can receive a Youth in Custody diploma, but not have other privileges extended to them that are offered to other high school students, Harman said.

“Most of these boys have gotten in trouble and are court ordered to come here from several months to several years. This gives them a chance to have a normal experience as other high school students have,” he said.

Harman has been involved with the film festival since the first year when he worked at the district office and was helping teach technology to teachers.

“Each year, it is getting bigger and growing. Elementary schools have really expanded. It’s a showcase that allows students to be creative in films and express themselves through video,” he said.

This year, 426 people in 28 schools submitted 156 entries, up from just four years ago when there were only 50 entries, Blunt said.

“More schools are getting involved through classes, techniteer troops [after-school technology workshops], newscasts and faculty are encouraging students to enter. Students learn filmmaking skills that they may apply later in classes or on their own. They’re learning creativity and offering new ways to present information, communication skills and learning organizational skills through putting together films so they make sense. If they work with others, teamwork is a big part of it,” she said.

Blunt said that through the film festival, students are learning how to revise and receive feedback to make improvements.

“I love to see the learning process. They may make over their film several times, receive feedback, revise, submit and learn still more ways to improve. When they resubmit and are willing to work hard to improve and learn, that’s huge,” she said.

Another change in this year’s film festival was eliminating the advertising category.

 “We liked the real-world application, working with clients and combining that with creativity. A lot of students learned to be responsible for what they produced. But it was more of a timing factor since students needed to start in the fall, and then it was a continuous struggle of students meetings with businesses,” she said.

Canyons School District spokesman and film festival emcee Jeff Haney said that films are intertwined in people’s lives.

“Films can leave an indelible mark on our lives,” he said. “We remember the way a person looks at another. We remember beautiful scenery or costumes. Some characters are so intriguing that we wish they were real so we could be their friends or family. But nothing is more memorable than a good line. Remember, ‘Luke, I am your father,’ from ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ Or, how about, ‘You can’t handle the truth!’ from ‘A Few Good Men.’ Or, ‘Show me the money!’ from ‘Jerry Maguire.’ And ‘There’s no place like home,’ from the famous ‘Wizard of Oz.’”

Haney said that through the film festival, students could launch themselves in future careers.

“Someday, one of them may be as big as Spielberg (and, maybe, as rich as Oprah),” he said.

Draper Park film festival winners include for Best Public Service Announcement, Kenli Coon, Hannah Jones, Derby Marshall, Gwyn Fowler with “Be Cool, Carpool Campaign;” Best Newscast, Maegan Eyre, Larkin Johnson and Field Behrens, with “Records Making A Comeback;” Best Documentary, “Music and the Mind,” by Colin Baker; Best Feature Film, “Insanity” by Jared Skanchy, Connor Boan, Jagger Wignall, Mindy Hall and Sam Jones. The poster contest winner went to Maegan Eyre.

Entrada High Draper students who won the American Graduate category are Alex DeAngelo with “Alex’s Path to Graduation;” Gavin Hawkins with “Kid Gavin;” and Juan Hobbs with “Path to Graduation.” 

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