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The Kids Stay in the Picture

When Nathan Goldstein first met with the planning committee for the Alexandria Film Festival, he understood that it had an international focus. But what Goldstein, the television station manager for Alexandria Public Schools, suggested was to bring that focus inward: to use the festival as an opportunity to tie-in the diverse population of the city's public schools.

As a result, the festival will feature "Alexandria: My Hometown," which is a collection of short film created by students from Mt. Vernon Community and Samuel Tucker Elementary schools.

The videos were facilitated through the Technology Resource Teachers in each school: Rick Cmiel at Mt. Vernon Community School and Paul George at Tucker Elementary School. Since they work year-round, they had students working with them during the summer — which fit the framework of the Festival's deadline perfectly while allowing the students to use the ACPS television facility's professional equipment, according to Goldstein.

"My understanding is that these students were involved in every step of the process, from writing and pre-planning, to technical work during production and post production," he said.

The entries range from two videos that tour different sites around the city, to a rap video in which two students celebrate Alexandria, to a program about an act of civil disobedience by Alexandria residents in the 1930’s to promote desegregation. Along with their debut at the film festival, Goldstein said all of the programs will debut simultaneously in Alexandria on ACPS-TV on Sept. 27 and will be repeated on the channel.

Goldstein said the ACPS television production programs allow students to feel the thrill of creating their own visual art.

"The recognition by the City in their support and acceptance of the work that we're doing serves not only as a validation of the students’ work, but as encouragement that the work in which the students are engaged generates a message that translates not only within our own community, but to a much larger general audience," he said.

<1b>— Greg Wyshynski