BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo's "City Voices, City
Visions" student film festival will present its "Academy Awards" to
the winning high school digital cinematographers 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 7, 2012, at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre,
639 Main St., in downtown Buffalo.
A Red Carpet reception with refreshments begins 4 p.m. in the
Market Arcade lobby. The event is free and open to the public.
Channeling the energy of a Hollywood premier, the annual event
has brought the best student digital producers and directors
together for the last three years. All hope to receive one of the
awards recognizing their work, including two grand prize winners.
All will have the opportunity to view the best student productions
on a big screen in the Market Arcade theater beginning at 4:30 p.m.
following the reception. Students who were nominated by their
teachers will receive a certificate of recognition.
The event -- the brainchild of Suzanne M. Miller, associate
professor of learning and instruction in UB's Graduate School of
Education, and director of the City Voices project -- is designed
to bring into the classroom 21st century digital composing tools to
engage students in learning.
"This project began at a time when videos were just starting to
be accepted as a basic educational tool in the academic culture,"
says Miller, a pioneer in integrating video technology into all
course work. Miller is a former high school English teacher who
began showing students from Buffalo Public Schools how to compose
their own digital videos as part of their class work several years
before YouTube inspired legions of video authors and became a part
of mainstream culture.
"Now, using video to teach is almost expected," she says. "These
are 21st century students who have grown up in a digital world.
They know a lot about media and creating content for Web 2.0 for
social networking. Providing support for them to represent concepts
through visuals, music, movement and words creates a new incentive
to try to understand and communicate in school."
This year's City Voices Film Festival brings together 50 entries
from students at high schools throughout Western New York,
including Barker, Niagara-Wheatfield, Gowanda, Cheektowaga, as well
as Buffalo's McKinley, DaVinci and Middle Early College
The winning entrees were judged by digital humanities expert,
Alex Reid, from UB's English Department and former City Voices
Assistant Director Suzanne Borowicz, director of the Western New
York Writing Project at Canisius College. Awards in this year's
competition will include Best Tribute, Best Literature Video, Best
Soundtrack, Exceptional Cinematography and Funniest Video.
The titles among this year's videos nominated by students'
teachers include "We Are the Solution," "The Big C," "The Many Hats
of a Woman" and "Little Monster Meets His Mother." On the lighter
side are "The Worm Project," "Old Dead Americans," "Stupidfaced"
music video and the satirical "A Sporting Chance."
"Digital video composing engages students in making sense of
curricular concepts and their lives by linking them together with
images, music, narrative and enacted scenes," says Miller.
"Students tackle serious subjects sensitively, making social
commentary and interpreting ideas, whether it's on poetry, Newton's
Law, World War II or the neighborhood."
Social studies teacher Keith Hughes from McKinley High School
and English teacher Joel Malley from Cheektowaga Central High
School will return as emcees for the event.
The winning videos will be posted online at http://www.CityVoicesCityVisions.org
the week after the film festival.
The event is sponsored by the UB Graduate School of Education's
Department of Learning and Instruction, and the City Voices, City
Visions Digital Video Composing project. The project focuses on
encouraging teachers to use digital composing as a powerful tool
for students to learn in the school curriculum.