This fall, students of Teresa Hughes Elementary School in Los Angeles wrote, shot and edited five short films within just 10 weeks. Mr. Lopez’s 4th grade class created a short film adaptation of the short story, “My Diary from Here to There”, a true story about a young girl who immigrates with her family from Juarez, Mexico to Los Angeles, CA. Ms. Altman’s 5th grade class created a very powerful documentary, “We Fight for Equality: Reflections of Race in America”, a contemporary look at race in our country through the historical lens of the Civil Rights Movement. Mr. Rodriguez’s class combined their skills of silent filmmaking and incorporated interviews with the director and actress of their original film “The Road to Freedom.” Ms. Strazzulla’s 6th grade class studied character development through their version of a sequel to “Hansel and Gretel.” Mr. Gonzalez’s 6th grade class took on an ambitious project – turning their classroom into a town hall and filming their own 2016 presidential debate.
As it goes in filmmaking, the time was intense and the goals were high, but the students and teachers stepped up and produced work that they were all very proud to screen at our 4th Teresa Hughes Independent Film Festival. As both a teaching artist and filmmaker, I am amazed by the love and energy that is put into these films. The students collaborate with each other and participate in ways that create the atmosphere of a professional film set. In Mr. Gonzalez’s 6th grade class, their project was a space for them to work together in light of a sudden teacher shift mid-way through the 10 weeks. The students were able to engage with the film project as a way to strengthen their peer-to-peer communication and grow into the 6th grade leaders that they are. During our film screening, our principal, Ms. Cortez, was astonished by the work they created! She got on the mic and praised the 6th graders for stepping it up and making such a powerful film.
– Elliot Montague, Teaching Artist