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A Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Ages 3 Through Grade 12

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To some, movies are a means of relaxation; to others, they’re an opportunity to exercise their self-appointed film critic reviews. Whether you’re the observer or the analyst, films are a unique form of artistic expression that speaks to each audience member relatively. At ESD, our students are learning to not only observe but articulate the depths behind a film’s plot, screenplay, character development, symbolic elements, and much more. 

Although it’s ESD’s eighth year hosting the Upper School Film Festival, it’s US Film and Digital Art & Design Instructor Nicole Mason’s first year leading students through the process. To optimize the curriculum to best serve students’ interests and passions, Ms. Mason has broken up the program into four sections, starting with silent films. 

A particular challenge in itself, Mit-Out-Sound (MOS) films require students to tell a story without utilizing a script or voice, limiting their resources yet expounding upon their creativity. For their second category, these young filmmakers must take a core memory of their own and fictionalize it for the big screen. From sentimental topics to amusing recollections, these segments enable students to communicate perpetually suppressed feelings through their art, further honing their love for the craft. In the third portion, students focus on modern adaptations, transforming a classic movie into their own interpretation, which, in some cases, surpasses the original. Lastly, for their final assignment, students tackle a “passion project,” wherein their devotion to specific topics is brought to life in beautiful, impactful ways. 

This Thursday, the ESD community is invited to attend our eighth annual Upper School Film Festival, where 11 short films will be displayed in the Bray Theater at 7:00 p.m. 

From start to finish, these students assume the roles of screenwriter, camera operator, director, producer, viewer, and cinematographer to ascertain and execute their many creative visions. If a picture can say a thousand words, these student-led films are nothing short of a powerful statement.