SFFILM Education is pleased to have teachers and their students back for this Schools at the Festival program. This year, we want to encourage freedom in student essay responses across K-12 classrooms. Provided are a series of prompts suitable to give students some guidance, but please let your students know that they can also write about their own experience on their Schools at the Festival field trip without adhering strictly to the prompts. For students who wish to use a prompt, they are not required to answer every prompt listed but should select enough for a thoughtful and complete response.
Winning essays will be determined based on creativity, depth, enthusiasm, clarity, grammar. Essays must be written in response to any of the in-person or online Schools at the Festival screenings. Students may choose one film program or submit separate essays for more than one program. Students need to follow the word count guidelines for their respective grades.
*Children in grades 1-12 who attend a public screening of a film included in the Schools at the Festival program are also eligible to participate. Parents: please be sure to fill in all of the required entry information when submitting.
We are excited to read about your students’ experiences back in the theaters.
Suggested Word Counts
Grades 1-5: 150-200 words
Grades 6-8: 300-350 words
Grades 9-12: 450-500 words
- It has been a long time since going to public arts events (i.e. concerts, movies, museums, plays, etc.) was possible. What was it like to return for you? What did it feel like to watch a film in a group? What has changed for you and your everyday life since you last experienced a film in the movie theater?
- What did you learn through this program (either from the film or the guest speaker(s)) that you didn’t know before the screening. How was it different learning about this topic through a film as opposed to a different medium? Did this experience inspire you to explore the topic even further?
- What questions did this program (either from the film or the guest speaker(s)) leave you with? How do these questions intersect with your class material? Did this experience reshape how you think about your class subjects (i.e. Math, History, Science)? Do you appreciate your class or class subject more? Why/Why not?
- Reflect on your career trajectory through this program (either from the film or the guest speaker(s)). What do you want to be when you grow up? Does the filmmaker’s journey or the film’s story change how you think about your own career ambitions or what you hope to pursue?
- Did this film or field trip experience inspire your own creativity or artistry? How do you like to express yourself creatively? How will this film or program impact the ways you will think about the arts or creativity in your everyday life?
- Select one film you saw in the program (if you saw a shorts program / if you saw multiple features). What did you like about that film? What made it stand out to you from all of the other films in the program? Are there any experiences in your own life that the story reminded you of? Do any of the character’s experiences in the selected film resonate with you? What lessons did you learn from the story and/or a character(s)?
- Write a critical film review of a program you saw today. What was something the filmmaker did that you think was successful or achieved something special to you? Write in detail why you liked/disliked this film. Consider reading a professional review of your favorite film from this last year to help guide your critical voice.
Submissions are due no later than May 13, 2022. Submit essays online here.
Required Entry Information
To be eligible for consideration, all essays must include the following information:
- Student name
- Teacher name
- Teacher phone number
- Teacher email address
Contest winners will be announced the week of May 23, 2022. Teachers will be notified directly if their students have won. The following prizes will be awarded:
Elementary School, Grades 1-5
Grand Prize: $250 cash prize
Runner-up (1): $175 cash prize
Middle School, Grades 6-8
Grand Prize: $400 cash prize
Runner-up (1): $250 cash prize
High School, Grades 9-12
Grand Prize: $600 cash prize
Runner-up (1): $350 cash prize
All winning essays will be published on www.sffilm.org. For questions, contact Keith Zwölfer at 415-561-5040 or email@example.com.