South School students in film fest
Waterville — Fourth grade teacher Nancy Nickerson and students from RSU 13’s South School in Rockland will head to the Waterville Opera House Saturday, July 21 for a film premiere — their own.
The class’ 6-minute spring semester video project is a finalist in the 35th annual Maine Student Film and Video Festival, part of the festival’s Pre-Teen (K-6) category. The MSFV is open to Maine residents younger than 20 and are judged on the basis of originality, content, style and technique.
“The premise is that the kids do the whole thing … it was an all-encompassing project, with the technology and the writing and acting and music, and their self-confidence really blossomed,” said Nickerson, adding that the girl who plays electric piano on part of the soundtrack was emboldened to enter a talent show after working on the movie. Another student wrote and sang a song that opens the film.
Nickerson had attended the National Writing Institute at Orono and her project there was to create an “ABC of Bullying” book. When she shared the idea with her class, the students suggested staging scenes and photographing them so they could be in the illustrations. When technology teacher Laurie Walsh sent around word of the film contest, Nickerson’s students were enthusiastic.
“There were a ton of ideas, but they all picked the idea of bullying” for their movie, said Nickerson.
The video, titled “The Domino Effect,” starts with a student being bullied at home, continues through his day and ends up with him becoming a bully at school. The students filmed in and around South School. They also came up with a special effects shot using dominos in slow motion.
The young filmmakers were asked to show their film and talk about it to the school’s second graders, which made a big impression on both the younger students and on Nickerson.
“I was so proud of them, being so grown-up and telling the second-graders ‘You should never bully!’,” she said.
Nickerson submitted the video to MSFV and heard early in the summer that “The Domino Effect” was selected as a finalist. All the finalists’ films, in three age-based categories, will be screened beginning at 12:30 p.m. July 21. A grand prize winner will receive a scholarship to the Young Filmmakers Program, donated by Maine Media Workshops of Rockport.
Admission to the Public Screening and Awards Presentation at the downtown opera house is free, and a reception for the students will follow at a nearby café. Nickerson, her students and their parents and guardians are meeting a couple of hours before the event to carpool from the school.
“It’s pretty cool the way it all came together,” said Nickerson. “This is totally their moment.”
The MSFV is held in conjunction with the Maine International Film Festival, which runs through the following day. For more information, visit miff.org. “The Domino Effect” may be viewed on YouTube.
Courier Publications' A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.