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Sherwood Park school hosting student film festival

This week marks the return of the Hawk Film Festival at F.R. Haythorne Junior High.

On Thursday, students at the school’s Film Production program will be showcasing films that they wrote, shot, and edited throughout the semester, with the films being shown at Sherwood Park’s Community Centre’s Agora Theatre.

The film festival began back in 2001, started by teacher Monty Drozda.

“It started in our school gym with close to a hundred people in our first couple of years, then growing into Galaxy Cinema, and now moving into a huge auditorium at the Agora, where we’re able to seat almost 400 people,” said Drozda. “It’s huge, and it’s not just the ticket sales, it’s the enrollment in the course. The course has gone from a small class to two full sized classes.”

The festival’s theme this year is flashbacks, where students learn examples of flashbacks in film before taking on the challenge of implementing this theme in their films.

“They end up learning about the equipment, and then they start brainstorming with their groups on their possible films. Then they write their screenplay, break it into shooting units, go out and shoot it, and the remainder of the semester is spent editing and finishing,” Drozda added.

One of the students this year is Mya Stirling, a Grade 9 student at the school. She helped Drozda with the feature film, “String Theory”.

“We take two days off of school to shoot a film, it’s so much fun,” said Stirling. “Writing a script was really hard, because it was super hard to get that first idea down of paper. It took a lot of time and thinking.”

Stirling grew a passion for film at a young age, making short films with her sister at home.

“Making a film has so many parts in it. It’s not just an actor and director. There’s so much more that goes on both on and off stage,” added Stirling.”

The film festival will end with a HAWKSTER awards ceremony, with this being the first year that the awards are given out immediately after the festival.

Mya Stirling.
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