IMAX Challenges Student Filmmakers to Create Documentaries

IMAX Challenges Student Filmmakers to Create Documentaries

Entertainment company IMAX Corporation launched Tuesday the first component of its “In Focus” program to showcase the work of young filmmakers and encourage them to create content that inspires audiences to improve the planet.

Specifically, IMAX has tasked student filmmakers with developing short documentaries to raise awareness of some of today’s most pressing environmental, societal and economic issues.

IMAX will award $5,000 grants to four high schools and a non-profit film workshop selected by the All-American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF) as exemplary programs.

IMAX formally announced the grant recipients last weekend during the 2016 AAHSFF Teen Indie Awards held in New York City, which is an annual festival for high school filmmakers.

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Each of the selected programs has been asked to produce an eight-minute documentary, as well as related content for social media, including Instagram and Snapchat posts.

The recipients of IMAX grants for the 2016-2017 school year are:

  • Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington, D.C.
  • University School of Nova Southeastern University, a college preparatory school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Ballard High School’s digital filmmaking program in Seattle
  • Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego
  • Mythic Bridge, public non-profit youth filmmaking workshop in New York City

Partnering with the UN Environment, the In Focus initiative is a component of IMAX Big Picture, the corporate social responsibility program launched in March to leverage the power of film to mobilize action and effect positive change.

The selected recipients – which represent a diverse cross-section of students – will create short films that raise awareness of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as told through the lens of today’s youth.

Each of the selected student film programs will create original content to specifically address at least one of the following UN sustainable development goals:

  • Climate action, which calls for efforts to stem greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists cite as a major factor in the earth’s changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
  • Life below water, encouraging people, enterprises and nations to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources. According to the UN, some 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.
  • Life on land, encouraging people, enterprises and nations to sustainably manage forests, and halt and reverse land degradation. According to the UN, forests account for a third of the earth’s surface, highlighting the global imperative to reverse deforestation.

The UN’s 17 development goals – adopted by 193 UN-member countries in September 2015 – range from eradicating poverty, promoting gender equality and protecting the environment to ensuring universal access to clean water, modern energy and quality education. UN Environment is the world’s leading environmental authority.

In addition to the rollout of In Focus on a pilot basis in the U.S., IMAX is considering expanding the program to Europe, Africa, Asia and elsewhere, in a joint effort with UNEP.

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