Photo By: Elliott Burr/Town Crier
Santa Rita School sixth-graders, from left, Alyssa Sun, Jasmine Chen and Shirley Cheng edit a film submission for the inaugural Los Altos School District Film Festival.
The sixth-grade classrooms at Santa Rita School are a hub of activity Friday afternoons as groups of students collaborate on a major undertaking – the inaugural Los Altos School Student District Film Festival.
Teachers Kelly Rafferty and Kami Thordarson, sixth-grade teachers who continue to teach their fifth-graders from last year, brainstormed ideas for a project that would engage students with technology.
“We wanted them to produce something with project-based learning,” Rafferty said. “We wanted them to see it from start to finish.”
The culmination of the students’ work will be on display 4-6 p.m. May 4 at Egan Junior High School, 100 W. Portola Ave., Los Altos. Rafferty said the event will include several film categories playing in different classrooms, allowing attendees to screen the submissions before awards are distributed.
The students, who produce 90 percent of the work, are divided into groups to work on different aspects of staging the film festival, including public relations, submissions, judging, website creation and maintenance, and event planning.
Each team executes a different job – the submissions team developed the rules and evaluates submissions as they arrive, and the event planning and public relations teams recruit potential sponsors to help underwrite the event.
“There are just so many real-world aspects (to the work) that have to do with writing, reading and speaking,” Rafferty said. “Especially in this day and age, you have to make it real for them.”
Students are currently reviewing submissions, writing a blog and preparing a presentation for another school.
“It’s pretty fun working with your teammates,” said student Danny Vesurai, a member of the website team. “We make the blogs together and answer emails.”
Fellow classmate Jamie Kersten said she’s excited to work on the film festival.
“It is really fun, because every Friday we get to work on this project,” she said. “We all like filming stuff, and it is really great because we get to share what we love by planning this event. It is going to be a lot of fun.”
The film festival will accept entries from K-8 district students through Friday. Submissions are split into class groups (K-2, 3-5, 6-8) and different categories, including Educational (math, science, history); Class Collaboration – teacher-created videos with class participation; Animation/Claymation; and Story. Submissions must be between one and 10 minutes in length.
Some students submit films they worked on in class, while others make independent films.
After Friday’s deadline, entries will be forwarded to the judges – district officials – who will select the winners.
For more information, to read the students’ blog or to view sample student videos, visit www.lasdfilmfestival.org.