While film critics around the country continue to debate whether “Green Book” was truly the year’s best picture, students in Canyons District schools have set their sights on becoming the next Steven Spielberg, Alfonso Cuaron, or Spike Lee.
Some 121 student-created entries from nearly every school in Canyons District, were submitted for the consideration of judges in the 10th annual Canyons District Film Festival, which culminates on Monday, April 15 at the Jordan Commons Megaplex Theater, 9335 State. A red carpet entrance for the nominees in six film categories and the poster-creation contest will precede the glitzy 6 p.m. awards ceremony.
The awards show is free to the public. Seating is limited so the audience is asked to reserve tickets, which can be obtained on the festival’s website.
Organizers also are hoping that connected-to-Utah stars of all kinds — film, TV, music, politics and literature — will use social media to send wishes of good luck to this year’s entrants and wish the festival a happy anniversary.
Canyons Education Technology Specialist Katie Blunt, one of the coordinators of the District’s festival, made a call for the social media messages during an interview on ABC4 on Monday, April 8.
“We wanted to make this 10th anniversary year extra special,” Blunt told anchor Emily Clark, “So we actually have a social media challenge …to get as many people as we can in Utah to wish our students luck” at the film festival.
Some of the best good-luck videos sent via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram may be shown during the awards ceremony at which the winners’ films will be shown. Some of those films, organizers say, were filmed on cell phones. The festival is one more way to urge students to use their phones in an educational way, not just to text friends or scroll through Instagram.
“Those phones have powerful cameras on them now,” Blunt said. “We encourage students to use those tools, either their own or some we have at school, to create films … It is exciting to see their creative side come out with this technology, instead of just getting ‘phone neck.’”
The film festival encourages students to think creatively and critically, Blunt said. For the students who produced a film as a group, the project also helped hone communication skills.
“There’s a lot to it,” she said. “More than you would expect.”
More than 300 students and teachers worked on films that have been entered the following categories: short film, documentary, animation, public service announcemen t, newscast, and teacher film. The top pick of a poster contest also will be announced at the ceremony. The winning entry will be used as the publicity poster for the 2020 Canyons District Film Festival. The nominated films can be seen on the festival's YouTube channel.