By Christine Bryant
Students at Hannah Ashton Middle School are using the power of film to advocate for issues important to today’s youth.
The films, which cover topics such as underage drinking and bullying, are produced entirely by groups of students at the school through a program provided by the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, an organization that works with 28 school districts across central Ohio to improve education for all students.
While most don’t consider themselves budding filmmakers, the students used this creative opportunity to push for awareness of causes important to them and their peers, said Lindsay Western, program manager of KIDSConnect, the program that has worked with students to complete film projects annually since around 1998.
“The most pleasant surprise this year was how thoughtful the students were in creating the scripts,” she said. “Many times as adults, we take for granted how much students see in the world around them.”
Using critical thinking, the students were motivated to make a difference, Western said.
“Students who may typically be class clowns, or very shy students, took this opportunity to shine,” she said.
Now students will have another opportunity to shine when they premiere their films at 6 p.m. April 21 at the Gateway Film Center, 1550 N. High St., Columbus.
The front of the theater will feature posters showcasing the students’ work, Western said, and at the conclusion of the presentation, students will host a panel discussion where they will answer questions about their films.
The event culminates nearly four months of work by the five groups of 10 to 15 students each that worked on the films.
“The students were in charge of writing the scripts with the help of KIDSConnect program coordinators,” Western said. “Students edited work and auditioned for the different roles in the film.”
Students also were in charge of the scene locations, directing, film poster creation and music, she said.
“The project gives the students a chance to connect with other students they would not otherwise interact with for a positive goal,” Western said. “It built their confidence as students and citizens of the world, and I hope that this project will show people who view the films the power of the youth voice.”