Story published in Dungog Chronicle
Literacy Project at Dungog Film Festival
By Robyn Pinkstone
Students at Dungog High School are once again involved in an exciting filmmaking project, part of the Rural Schools Education Program set up by Dungog Film Festival.
In the lead up to the Festival, students will make a short advertisement which will be screened on Closing Night, 30 May. Guided by teachers, Louise Rowley and Fiona McLarty, the student filmmakers will chose the product to be promoted and make the advertisement in its entirety. This process involves brainstorming the idea, writing the words, and then turning the words into scripts. Students will direct and shoot the film, edit the images and be involved in all aspects of post-production, that is, getting the film ready for screening. In doing so, students will not only develop their verbal and visual literacy skills but also enjoy creating their own media product.
‘Young people are the future of the Australian film industry and we need to do all we can to interest them in all aspects of filmmaking,’ said Stavros Kazantzidis, Managing Director of the film festival.
‘It would be great if projects like this encouraged some of Dungog youth to consider careers in filmmaking.’
Jane Caro, a prominent professional in the advertising business will mentor the young filmmakers. An advertising copywriter with 28 years experience, Jane is also a writer, a part-time lecturer in Advertising Creative at the University of Western Sydney and a media commentator. Jane is well known as a panellist on the ABC TV’s The Gruen Transfer.
This project has additional local interest, as its patron is Jennifer’s Words, a venture set up by the Ryan family of Dungog to honour their wife and mother’s commitment to children’s literacy. Jennifer Ryan, a pre-school teacher helped found the local pre-school and after her retirement, worked with a remedial reading group at Dungog High School.
‘Jennifer’s Words started as a family discussion in late 2009,’ said daughter Janne Ryan. ‘We watched our mother Jennifer decline into end-stage Alzheimer’s, losing her ability to use words and communicate with us. We wanted to stand on her shoulders and create a new project, honouring the power and role of words, and the liberation that literacy offers in the larger world.’
The partnership with Dungog Film Festival and Dungog High School is a first for Jennifer’s Words but the family are committed to future projects where they can contribute further to the development of children’s literacy.
‘Actually,’ reflected Janne, ‘Words can change your life.’
Find out more about the educational programs at Dungog Film Festival (27-30May) at