The power of student filmmaking

The power of student filmmaking

Who knew that student filmmaking could be a vehicle to harness, empower, and celebrate reading, writing, and technology? Lucky for us at Kaw Tay Whee School, we have keen, dedicated teachers who embrace student interest, and recognize the potential of moving projects such as this on to the next level!

That next level was an entry into the popular Dead North Film Festival, followed by an entry into Toronto’s Blood in the Snow Film Festival.

What I’ve now learned at our school in Dettah, is that filmmaking also promotes the “soft skills” that so many employers claim are missing as new graduates enter the workforce. These skills include communication, collaboration, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, and time management. People skills! We all need them.

We’ve found that the use of technology through filmmaking offered many opportunities to build partnerships with the wider filmmaking community as well as the media. This could have a profound, lifelong impact for our students and certainly impacts their future employability.

Adults in this industry are open and positive about engaging with our students—they take films seriously such as Frostbite and the subsequent, Frostbite Wıı̀lıı̀deh Word of the Day. Students recently completed a series of commercials for a local business, further building their skills related to marketing and economics. Through filmmaking, our students have gained wide-reaching partners. This has led to an increased interest in geography, and more appreciation of the power of their voice.

In addition to specific technological and other curricula-related skills such as reading, writing, editing, soundtrack development, cinematography, photography, and stop-motion animation, students are engrossed in research. They regularly use their reading and critical thinking skills as they design and build sets, learn about make-up and special effects, and discover and participate in careful and pointed social media promotion. Our students use film to support learning their local language. We see this as a crucial step to promote Dene culture in our community, and the wider world. Student voice and identity can live through film.

We are in a whole new world in society, and in public education. What will the careers of the future be? Rest assured, the skills gained through student filmmaking will help our beloved students succeed.

- Lea Lamoureux, M.Ed, Principal, Kaw Tay Whee School


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