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Cooke Hosts a Student Film Festival

The aroma of fresh popcorn combined with a gymnasium full of staff, students and parents was the proper setting for the 1stAnnual Student Film Festival at Cooke Elementary on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.  The idea of a film festival started as a class discussion with Talented and Gifted teacher Christine Szegda and her students.  After noticing how many students in her classes were interested in filmmaking or already making their own films, and wanting to give students a positive, risk-free way to share their work with a larger audience, the Cooke Student Film Festival was formed.

Twenty students in grades 3-5 participated in the film festival.  Some worked alone on their project while others worked in small groups. In addition to making their own films, students assisted in creating promotional materials, planning the premiere of the film festival and getting their peers to be actors in some of the films.  Many films were written, directed, and edited by students themselves. Several filmmakers were able to borrow equipment from EDtv or utilize district equipment and editing software to help complete and edit their films.  Students used recess, lunch and afterschool time to work on their films.

Filmmakers used a myriad of different resources to create their films.  Some used the one camera single-shot format, while others used stop motion animation to create their movies. Additionally, there were animated films and those made through Google Slides.  The stop motion animation procedure can be tedious but produces astonishing results.  The process requires the filmmaker to take a still photo of its subject. Then the object is moved slightly for each additional photo. Stop motion animation software is used to create a movie from the photographs.  Heroes Around Meby Tyler S. required Tyler to draw and photograph over 300 pictures for his 18-second film.

Filmmaker Mia C. created a full cooking tutorial complete with a family recipe, interviews and some delicious results for her film entry.  Other films discussed heroes, policeman & policewoman, the chase for popularity through social media and Longwood Gardens.  Cooper O. spent more than 2 months creating his short film, A Space Oddity. Through the use of an iPhone, Copper needed more than 500 photos to complete his film.  “I was amazed at how long it takes just to complete a few seconds of film,” stated Cooper O.  

Boris H. submitted several films to the festival. He employs the Stop Motion app which is available on cellular phones.  Boris has created videos for the PTA and in class through the school year. 


“I really believe that people have a sense of who they are and what they want to do at a young age. I take students seriously when they tell me they have a passion for something, “stated Szegda, “I look for ways to help them cultivate and share their passions. Filmmaking is a wonderful thing to teach and foster at the elementary level.”