Get the message bullies

IN the increasingly visual digital age the film medium is becoming more and more valuable as an educational tool. 

The value is not lost on Tuncurry Public School, where Forster Film Festival’s Greg Smith shot a short film with students last week.

“We thought it would provide a new challenge, in a new medium to enrich the education of some of our talented students,” talented students program coordinator Avril Benham said. 

“It’s something we want to carry into future years, with the students who’ve participated this year mentoring students through the process next year.”

The film, entitled Catching Joy: one person can make a difference, carries an inclusive anti-bullying message which students wrote and storyboarded themselves. 

“It was a great chance to build my confidence in front and behind the camera,” student Millie Chalker said.

“I loved being involved because it lets me be creative,” Olivia Sharpe added.

“This film fits in with our mission statement, which is to encourage and support the learning skills involved in filmmaking,” Forster Film Festival 

director Greg Smith said.

“These young students are startlingly original thinkers, a precious thing in low budget filmmaking.”

Greg has completed similar short-film projects in Taree and Bungwahl Public Schools which have earned praise from the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), a national non-profit organisation, committed to supporting the educational use of television and multimedia in schools. 

“I approached ACTF to discuss distribution of the short films we have been making with local primary school students over the past couple of years,” Greg explained.

“ACTF looked at three of our films and were so impressed that they asked permission to link them to their website.”

ACTF education manager, Deborah Cohen, also asked Forster Film Festival to join the Australian Education Network.

“These are wonderful concepts and each film communicates clearly and emotionally the ideals and viewpoints. My praise and congratulations to everyone involved.”

ACTF Head of Development and Production, Bernadette O’Mahony, also suggested that SBS and NITV would be open to the innovative project. 

Greg is currently 

negotiating a contract with two other local schools to involve short-filmmaking in the primary to high school transition process.

All the short films shot in local schools will feature in the upcoming Forster Film Festival beginning on September 29. 

“It’s going to be bigger and better, we’ve got $6000 in prize-money on offer and with the entries we’ve received it’s going to be fantastic.” 

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