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Program shines spotlight on aspiring filmmakers

A NEW arts program has given students from Rokeby High School and Rosny College a taste of life as professional filmmakers.

The Transition Youth Arts program paired 38 students with professional filmmakers to create a cinematic piece shaped by their personal experiences.

With assistance from writers, the students created scripts for the five-part dramatic web series titled “Black Hills High”, which was developed by Mast Films in partnership with the two schools.

Mast Films director Lucien Simon said the program highlighted and celebrated the unique talent, creativity and stories of young people in the Clarence Plains area.

“At the beginning of the course, we asked the students a range of questions about how they overcome stigma and what their happiest moments were,” he said.

“Although we explore some very heavy themes in this series, we also show how resilient these students are and how they can overcome and rise above tough situations.”

By working with professionals on high-quality content, Mr Simon said the program opened up pathways for the students into higher education and the film industry.

“The program is aimed at developing self esteem and confidence, as well as dispelling the fear of moving into higher education,” he said.

“Through producing their own films and engaging in teamwork, the students can increase their professionalism and leave with a sense of success.”

Shooting for the web series wrapped up at the end of term two, with the editing process now underway.

Mr Simon said that overall the students responded “very well” to the program.

“While some found it hard to open up, most of the students fully immersed themselves into the story,” he said.

“It is very confronting to engage with something that reflects your own world experiences but by doing so, we now have a finished product that is very raw and enlightening.”

As part of Youth Transition Arts, Mr Simon is also planning to run an after-school theatre, circus and film training program based out of Rokeby High School.

Mr Simon said these workshops would hopefully be up and running in 2017.

For more information about Transition Youth Arts, visit http://transistoryoutharts.com.

Caption: Actors Connor Cathy and Caleb Mann on the set of Black Hills High, a five-part drama web series centred on Clarence Plains youth.