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Charter school presents student-made film festival

by on March 09, 2016 11:39 AM

STATE COLLEGE — On March 4, visitors to the Centre Learning Community Charter School in State College may have thought they had wandered into a theater, with lobby walls adorned with movie posters and the aroma of popcorn in the air.

They were right.

For just that day, the school was turned into a multiplex theater, with about a dozen films running concurrently in various rooms of the school.

For the past six years, the entire student body of fifth- through eighth-graders has, for one day of the school year, turned the building into a museum. These projects follow a different theme each year. This year, the theme was a film festival.

In one area of the building, seventh- and eighth-grade students were showing four different documentary films they had made. The students shot the video footage, then edited it on computers using Apple iMovie software. All the films were shown on computers.

In another room, seventh-grader Matthew Bonsell showed his film on fly fishing, which featured some senior citizens speaking about fishing and fly-tying techniques, why they liked fly fishing and how long they have fished. The film included some beautiful winter footage of Spring Creek as a backdrop.

In a large room, seventh- and eighth-graders presented video stories involving a fictional planet called Eurus, which they created.

They had to decide what the climate was, what the topography would be, and what the flora and fauna would be of their nations,” said learning support specialist Andrea Kennedy.

Instructor Brian Rowan, who guided the Eurus project, said they decided the planet would be plagued by constant high winds, forcing its inhabitants to live in underground caverns, with wind turbines on the surface to generate electric power. “We had done a cave project in the past, so we’re using that part, and we needed a rationale for living underground, so we said it’s really windy all the time,” said Rowan.

For a map of Eurus, they used the outline of the United States and rotated it about 120 degrees, naming their cave nations using anagrams of known caves in the U.S.

Fifth- and sixth-grade students who studied ancient civilizations were showing “Rome: The Movie,” which featured young actors battling in sword-clanging gladiator action superimposed over a view of the Roman Coliseum. This film was very popular, with 30 or more students and adult visitors piling into the small theater room.

Another group of fifth- and sixth-graders created a room filled with information regarding the American Civil War and the innovations in medicine, communications, weaponry, railroads and photography it inspired. Sixth-grader Kai Wadlington presented a film which chronicled the development of the telegraph, and the effect it had on the war. The film was centered on telegraph inventor Samuel F.B. Morse and the Morse Code he developed to send messages.

Julia Kelly, dressed in Civil War-era clothing, showed a collection of Civil War photographs and displayed a replica of a tripod-mounted box camera of the era to compliment her film. Instructor Amy Weaver displayed a collection of antique glass photograph negatives.

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