PSA takes top place at TLDSB Film Festival
By Darren Lum
Published July 3, 2018
Haliburton Highlands Secondary School media arts students came away from the annual TLDSB Student Film Festival with the best PSA video and a full understanding of what it takes to produce a movie.
An emotion-laden short video showing how a drunk driver can take the life of a young girl doing the right thing was at the heart of how Storm Brannigan, Morgan Burke, Jamie Holden and Emily Mathers came home with best PSA in a field of student group entries.
Their teacher Alexis David was proud of how her students overcame their challenges to complete the project, Victims of Impaired Driving.
“The work they put into it and the technical aspect of it. They had a lot of technical difficulties with our computers and our programs. Things like crashing. They just persevered,” she said.
David thought the Highlands student PSA was chosen for its message, punctuated by an emotionally provocative ending.
The tragedy is made all the more real by the sound of a heart monitor’s prolonged beep, signalling a flat line. It left her with goosebumps.
“To me that was an impactful moment. That’s when everybody seems to get goosebumps. That to me is what made them stand out. It really made their message basically hit home with a lot of people,” she said. “Also hearing from the mother’s point of view and the daughter’s.”
There were a variety of categories judged including PSA, best animation, best narrative, best technical skill, best overall message, best directing, best spoof ad, best documentary and best overall film.
The top three videos for each were shown, followed by the announcement of the winner on June 12 at I.E. Weldon Secondary School in Lindsay.
They were surprised at being named a winner.
They didn’t have any idea they were in the running until they saw their work showcased. The competition was very good and the other PSAs’ messages were on eating disorders, bullying, drug abuse, and mental health in school.
For Emily and Jamie, getting the shots was the most enjoyable part of the two week process in making this video, which was originally a class project.
One week for editing and one week for filming.
Videos were marked on messaging, whether they were engaging, facts presented, technical aspects, time of the video (one minute and longer being best), reflection of message and an explanation of shots.
The breakdown included four levels of sophistication – four being the highest.
This group worked well together.
They shared an openness with one another that facilitated strong collaboration.
No one was afraid to speak their mind for the end result of a stronger video.
Both of the Grade 10 students said the greatest challenge was working with the editing software. Getting to produce this work at the end of the year allowed for better comprehension of the required editing software.
Working through this process has given them a greater appreciation for what is required of movies and videos.
“It’s incredible they put that much time and effort and money in that stuff,” Emily said.
Earlier in the year, this group came together for a stop-motion project that required far less time.
This experience was beneficial for their winning project in terms of the types of shots such as the POV shot they effectively used to convey feeling from the tragic outcome in the PSA.
They not only took top spot with their video Victims of Impaired Driving, but were also awarded two filmmaking pieces of equipment, a shotgun microphone and a mobile phone gimbal, which stabilizes the camera for moving capture.
It will serve as a legacy and give future students who take this course an opportunity to work with better equipment, Jamie said.
“It just benefits media arts classes and whatever classes that might need that.”
The students’ film can be found on the TLDSBstudentfilms YouTube page or by following this link: https://youtu.be/wtBLfRykb9Q.