Winning film delivers environmental message

Jannali East Public School’s anti-litter film won the top prize at the Film By Invitation gala event. Alyssa Terese reports.

Students in front of a media banner. Students in front of a media banner.
Image: Students from Jannali East Public School at the Film By Invitation festival.

Some of the state’s youngest student filmmakers have taken top prize at the 2023 Film By Invitation festival.

‘Trash Tyrant’ was created by the 22 Year 2 students at Jannali East Public School and teacher Mr Martin Thomas and tells of the awakening of a fictional ‘terrifying’ ancient trash beast that terrorises the students for littering.

The film beat out 400 other entries from Kindergarten to Year 12 students from across the state.

Judging panel member and The Arts Unit, School Arts and Initiatives Coordinator, Michelle Dodd, said the winning film was a standout.

“It intelligently incorporated art sculpture, exceptional storytelling with its well-crafted plot, intricate complications and stunning drone footage,” she said.

Film By Invitation celebrates the accomplishments of student filmmakers as part of a series of festivals screened in local cinemas across NSW and includes Film by The City, Eucalypts, Vines, Hospital, Pasture, Northern Rivers and Film By Online.

The winning school’s film was originally shown at the Film By the Sea festival and was awarded prizes including a VideoCraft rental voucher worth $1000, top-of-the-line Rode Microphones valued at $1300, and a selection of premium Australian Film Television and Radio School merchandise.

More than 650 students, teachers and parents gathered across three theatres at the Hoyts Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park on Tuesday 14 November to watch the festival’s 22 films.

“When Jannali East was announced the winners, all 22 of the students were streaming down the aisles in utter elation, some of them crying from excitement – they were just so happy that they’d won,” Ms Dodd said.

“This year is a milestone for Film By as we celebrate its 13th year. It all began with a ‘Making Movies’ initiative for schools in the Sutherland Shire.”

Other award recipients:

  • Runner-up - The Odd One Out - St Johns Park High School - Film By the Pasture

  • Third place - Highly Commended - Babyzilla - Bourke St Public School - Film by the City

  • Fourth place - Encouragement - The Late House - Bexhill Public School - Film by the Northern Rivers

  • Fifth place - Encouragement - Inner West Highlights - Marrickville West Public School - Film by the City

Students in front of a media banner. Students in front of a media banner.
Image: North Sydney Girls High School's film Delirium was the winner of the CApture film festival.

Festival CAptures top talent

The evening was also a celebration of the first ever CApture film festival, which showcased films from the imaginative talents and skills of NSW public school students in years 9, 10 and 11.

The CApture interactive resource empowers students to produce their own short films under the guidance of award-winning industry experts, real-world short film examples, and engaging activities.

North Sydney Girls High School’s film Delerium wowed audiences with its sophisticated visual exploration of loss and time passing and was named the overall winner.

The Arts Unit Digital Engagement Officer and CApture Film Festival Coordinator, David Todd, said the film had impressed the judging panel.

“It demonstrated excellence in cinematography, editing and utilised some excellent location shots with the use of signature item ‘window’ brilliantly conceived and executed,” he said.

“CApture is an amazing opportunity to showcase the work of upper secondary students and gain insight into the complex minds of these creative students.

“Through the many forms of filmmaking, important teenager topics and emotions are beautifully expressed in the form of filmmaking and in particular in these top 13 finalists at our festival.”

Other award recipients:

  • Runner-up - Terracotta Friends - Winmalee High School

  • Highly Commended - The Libretto - Cherrybrook Technology High School

  • People’s Choice - Shut Out - North Sydney Girls High School

Dr Sylvia Corish, Executive Director, Student Support and Specialist Programs, expressed her pride in and enthusiasm for the two Arts Unit film festivals.

She said the festivals offered an outstanding opportunity for the talents of NSW public school students to be celebrated and recognised on the big screen.

“Through Film By Invitation and CApture, we have showcased 35 of the finest films from a staggering pool of more than 600 submissions from schools across the state,” Dr Corish said.

“These films originate in the classroom, with teachers integrating filmmaking into their literacy units and encouraging students to assume various roles in pre and post-production, including scriptwriting, directing, acting, and editing.

“Both festivals are great examples of the Department’s commitment to providing students with access to exceptional arts programs and experiences that enable them to explore and fulfill their potential”.

All films will be available as part of a digital showcase set to launch mid-December.

Film By Invitation is supported by RØDE, the Australian Film and Radio School, Compnow, Digi Ed and Videocraft Australia.

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