UB's Oscars of Digital Student Videos -- 'City Voices, City Visions' Makes a Return Engagement

Release Date: June 6, 2012

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 schools.

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.

Media Contact Information

Charles Anzalone
News Content Manager
Education, Educational Opportunity Center, Law,
Academies, Honors College, Student Activities

Tel: 716-645-4600