Student council at Diamond Jenness Secondary School is working hard to bring the student body back into the limelight and behind the lens with a film contest this spring.
“We used to do something like this before at the school,” said Sam Hoose, student body president. “We just wanted to raise excitement for something artistic and creative in the student body and see what came from it.”
DJSS has a proud tradition of storytelling through film and has even produced an award-winning filmmaker in former student Kelvin Redvers. Anna Cunningham, advisor to student council, said she was happy to see the group push for a collaborative project that involved the whole school and encouraged students to really think about what the institution meant to them.
“It’s good to have something that isn’t about sports and is maybe more creative,” she said. “This place has produced some really great artists and we wanted to bring that back into focus a little bit.”
The rules of the contest are simple; the film must be six minutes or under, be suitable for a PG audience, and fit into either comedy, action, drama or silent film genres. The projects will be judged on the components of acting, writing, editing and the filming itself. Student council has also brought in outside talent to help students with their projects, including the Hay River Community Youth Centre’s film club crew, which boasts instructors with a wide array of talent for telling stories, filming, and producing movies.
Cunningham said she hoped there would be enough uptake to create an event for the judging, similar to previous years in which the films were all screened before a school assembly and students voted for each by clapping and cheering.
“We’ve made it into an event before,” she said. “It just depends on how many people enter.”
As for the subject matter, Cunningham said focusing on the school was an easy choice.
“It’s important to hitch our imagination to something,” she said, adding that it could be overwhelming for students to not only have to create the film but come up with a concept from scratch as well.
Although there are only a few weeks left of school, with many activities planned for students in the time remaining, Cunningham said she hopes people get excited about the film contest and participate. She noted that while the youth centre film club has more advanced equipment that can be borrowed for the filming and editing processes, students are also free to make movies with their phones and iPad apps if they so choose.
“It can be as high tech or low tech as they want,” she said. “It’s all about getting creative and telling the stories that matter to them about their school.”