Students from a half-dozen local high schools submitted short films for the third annual District 169 film festival at the Minnesota Zoo’s Imax theater on Saturday.
Budding filmmakers from south-metro high schools will soon have a chance to see their movies on the biggest screen in the Upper Midwest.
The Great Clips Imax Theater at the Minnesota Zoo will host the District 196 Film Fest from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Students from schools including Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Mendota Heights and Rosemount submitted short films varying in length from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.
About 45 of the more than 60 submissions will be screened, said Mark Hubbard, a video career development course instructor at Rosemount High School.
Hubbard created the festival in 2011 in an attempt to boost enrollment in his course, which teaches students how to create a film from start to finish — from story creation, storyboarding and scripting, all the way through the process of finding locations, casting actors, and filming and editing it. “They go through the headaches of it all,” he said, laughing.
The yearlong course gives the students experience using state-of-the-art equipment and prepares them for a career in the film industry, Hubbard said.
While he is starting to see a swing back in class enrollment, he still wants to provide the students with an outlet for storytelling. “Arts are the first thing to be cut and I’m in a struggle to keep the program alive and vibrant,” he said.
The cost of attendance is $5, and all proceeds will go toward funding the program and future film festivals.
Three short films produced by the Rosemount High School Film Lot group also will be screened.
Kathy O’Connell, sales manager at the Great Clips Imax Theater, said the theater is looking forward to a third year hosting the event. “I think the students are thrilled to see their film on our screen. It’s very exciting for them,” she said.
Past students have gone on to be accepted at Columbia film school in Chicago and UCLA film school in California.
“I’m just blown away by the talent we have in our schools,” O’Connell said — talent that someday may show up on the big screens around the world.
“Maybe someday they will be in Hollywood making a film,” she said.
Lannie Walker is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.