Palm Springs International Film Society Presents
EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH PROGRAMS
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PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM SOCIETY
2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival Student Screening Day, Jan. 4, 2012
Location: Palm Springs High School
"Luis 'Taco' Cueto and Chris Marquez from Shakespeare High with Coachella Valley students following screening"
"Q & A following Shakespeare High screening"
"Tosh Hall from Shakespeare High with local students following screening"
This year's event involved the participation of nearly 1,000 students from seven schools: Palm Springs High, Cathedral City High, Desert Hot Springs High, Ramon Alternative Center, Palm Desert High, La Quinta High, and Indio High.
The day, made possible through the generous support of Bank of America and other contributors, began with buses pulling in at 9AM at the Palm Springs High auditorium parking lot. The first film screened was the powerful documentary Shakespeare High, which follows several schools participating in the annual Drama Teachers Association of Southern California Shakespeare festival. This festival has been a catalyst for thousands of young people, including many at risk youth and those involved in gangs (as well as Kevin Spacey and other well-known actors), to immerse themselves in the work of William Shakespeare. The program creates the opportunity for students to develop academic skills, bond as teammates and use the arts as a means of creative expression. The end result is often a life transforming experience. The screening was attended not only by the film’s director Alex Rotaru and Producers Brad Koepenick, Lori Miller, and Ronnie Planalp, but by many of the amazing teachers (Carla Wynn, Sarah Rosenberg and Luis Cardenas) and students (Tosh Hall, Luis “Taco” Cueto, Chris Marquez, Oscar Fernandez, Coleen Greenhalgh, Nicole Boretz, and Sam Sterns) featured in the film. Several of these students returned the following day to Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs High Schools to lead workshops to Drama and English students (see below).
Similar to the overwhelming response to Louder Than a Bomb at the 2011 Student Screening Day, when the credits for Shakespeare High began to roll and the students from the film came on stage, the audience of 1,000 students and teachers rose to their feet and burst into an emotional round of applause. For the second year in a row, the transformative experiences of those in the film were mirrored by the transformative experiences of those in the Palm Springs High auditorium watching the film. The outpouring of love, admiration and support for the students was unforgettable.
Following the film, lunch, with generous support from Chipotle, was provided to the students. The second film of the day was the South African film Lucky, written and directed by Avie Luthra, soon to make its U.S. premiere at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival. This emotional film tells the story of “Lucky,” a young boy who, following his mother’s death from AIDS, leaves his small Zulu village to go on a long and difficult journey to find his father. It leads him to the big city where he is befriended by an older Indian woman who does not take kindly to Africans. Eventually, they form a strong bond and this relationship becomes the basis for a brighter future for Lucky. The film, with its strong and authentic characters and unwillingness to fall prey to melodrama, served as an excellent introduction to Coachella Valley high school students to the power of independent and world cinema.
2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival Student Screening Day – Classroom Workshops, Jan. 5, 2012
Location: Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs High Schools
"Shakespeare High Producer Brad Koepenick leads a workshop with students at Palm Springs High"
"Luis Cueto and Chris Marquez listen to a DHSHS student read one of poems"
With the intention of going deeper than a simple Q&A can accomplish, the Palm Springs Unified School District and the Palm Springs International Film Festival invited the filmmakers and stars of the documentary Shakespeare High to return the day after Student Screening Day to lead classroom workshops at Palm Springs High and Desert Hot Springs High. Director Alex Rotaru, Producer Brad Koepenick and two of the student “stars” from the film, Luis “Taco” Cueto and Chris Marquez, spent the entire day with students at the two schools. The content of the visits covered ranged from drama exercises led by Producer Koepenick to dramatic monologues and testimonials from Taco and Chris, whose personal stories proved both riveting and inspirational. Over the course of the day, the two were able to form strong bonds with the local students as demonstrated by the flurry of picture-taking that took place and, in one case, a student who spontaneously shared one his own poems with Luis and Chris.
The Filmmakers in the Schools Program, Oct - Dec 2011 & March - April 2012
Location: Cathedral City High School & Desert Hot Springs High School
"Filmmaker in the Classroom John Steppling discusses filmmaking with students in Matt Hamilton’s Digital Arts Technology Academy"
In partnership with the Palm Springs Unified School District, the Palm Springs International Film Society is working in 2011-12 with two local high school classroom teachers to bring in two screenwriter/directors to teach and mentor students on the art and technique of film. In the Fall 2011 semester, Writer/Director John Steppling led a series of eight workshops for teacher Matt Hamilton’s Digital Arts Technology Academy (DATA) at Cathedral City High School. Steppling’s interactive lectures covered film history, grammar, technique and aesthetics and were punctuated with vivid examples of important cinematic techniques in such classic films as Casablanca, Strangers on a Train, Cat People and North by Northwest. In the Spring 2012 semester Writer/Director Cheryl Slean will be working with two of Jamie O’Neil’s Video Production classes at Desert Hot Springs High to teach students the art and technique of the short film. She will guide students through the writing of short film scripts and the creation of student-produced short videos. The videos are expected to be completed in May.
ShortFest Student Screening Day, Oct 18, 2011
Location: Cathedral City High School & Desert Hot Springs High School
"Filmmakers Jason Carpenter, Richard Parkin and George Zaverdas at 1st ShortFest Student Screening Day"
Modeled on the successful Student Screening Day that occurs annually on the day before the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January, the first ever ShortFest Student Screening Day was held on October 18th at the Palm Springs High auditorium for 500 students from Palm Springs High School, Cathedral City High School, Desert Hot Springs High School, and Coachella Valley High School. The students watched four outstanding films from the 2011 Palm Springs International ShortFest lineup: Against the Sea (Live Action, Directed by Richard Parkin), David and Goliath (Documentary/Live Action, Directed by George Zaverdas), The Renter (Animation, Directed by Jason Carpenter), and Sun City Picture House (Documentary, Directed by David Darg). Following the screenings, students participated in a Q&A with Directors Parkin, Zaverdas and Carpenter. The event marked a unique opportunity to educate students about the creative process of short filmmaking, to inspire students' own creativity, and to spark interest among young people in ShortFest. Desert Hot Springs High Media Studies Teacher Jamie O’Neil was especially pleased with the inaugural event: “My students really enjoyed it, and I think it was really valuable, since short films are what we are about! It was well-done, the films were all good, and it was organized and on time.”
Filmmaker and Screening Series
Hollywood Behind the Scenes Filmmaker Series, Oct. 2011 – April 2012
Location: Rancho Mirage Public Library
"Oscar-nominated Costume Designer Arianne Phillips"
Close to 500 students from four Palm Springs High Schools attended a screening and Q&A of the gripping documentary Angels in the Dust at the Palm Springs High Auditorium. The award-winning film, which played at the 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival, examines the inspired and inspirational life of Marion Cloete, a white South African woman, who -- with her husband and daughters -- fearlessly walked away from a privileged life in a Johannesburg suburb to establish Botshabelo, an extraordinary village and school that provides shelter, food and education to more than 550 poor South African children. Following the screening, director Louise Hogarth updated the students on the status of the people in the film and the Cloete family's continuing efforts and then answered all of the students' questions. She sat down for an interview with two students from the Digital Arts Technology Academy at Cathedral City High School who reported on the event for the KPSP Channel 2 website. Bus transportation was generously underwritten by the producer Participant Media.This highly popular ongoing series at the Rancho Mirage Public Library brings working Hollywood professionals on stage for an interview and clips program to demystify the process by which movies are made. The series continues in 2011-12 with the following appearances:
Oct 11, 2011: Costume Designer Arianne Phillips (a recent Oscar nominee for her amazing work on Madonna’s new film W.E.)
February 27, 2012: the husband-and-wife team of Production Designer David Wasco and Set Decorator Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (best known for their work with Quentin Tarentino, including their spectacularly original design of the Jack Rabbit Slim’s restaurant that featured the unforgettable dance sequence with John Travolta and Uma Thurman)
March 13, 2012: Cinematographer Lawrence Sher (Garden State, The Hangover, The Hangover II).
"Classic Comedy Series, August 2011"
Location: Palm Springs Art Museum
Providing a welcome respite from the late summer heat, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, in partnership with the Palm Springs Art Museum, presented a free series of classic Hollywood comedies at the Museum’s Annenberg Theatre. Intended to be a survey of some of the best comedies from the 1930’s through the 1960’s the lineup included A Night at the Opera, The Philadelphia Story, Born Yesterday, Some Like it Hot, and The Graduate. Each film was introduced by a programmer from the Palm Springs International Film Festival.Judging by the packed houses and the high volume of laughs, the series was quite a smashing success. As a result of the positive response, the series will continue with a second installment of five classic comedies in the summer of 2012.
"Backyard Oasis Film Series, February – May 2012"
Location: Palm Springs Art Museum
Four films were selected by the Palm Springs International Film Society as part of programming associated with the Palm Springs Art Museum’s exhibition Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, an initiative of the Getty Foundation. The free series, held one Thursday a month between February and May, was intended to complement and heighten interest in the exhibition. The films are: The Swimmer (1968, Directed by Frank Perry), Swimming Pool (2003, directed by Francois Ozon), A Bigger Splash (1973, Directed by Jack Hazan), and Men Who Swim (2010, directed by Dylan Williams). Each film was introduced by a programmer from the Palm Springs International Film Festival.