Let Student Film Speak in Your School!
The Bridge Film Festival concept was simple, give students a venue to exchange ideas of conscience via the medium of film. The platform is built on an international network of Friends schools and Meetings that share Quaker values and celebrate regional and cultural differences.
The Festival was started with a grant from the Friends Council on Education and matching funds from the Brooklyn Friends School Parent Association. Since 2000, it has been principally sponsored by Brooklyn Friends School.
During the first decade of the Festival, films were mailed in on videotape and eventually DVD. The submissions were reviewed and finalists selected for a screening event. The annual events consisted of filmmaking workshops, dinner, screenings, celebrity speakers, and live judging.
The advent of YouTube and Google applications in the second decade of the Festival allowed entries to be uploaded and submitted through “The Cloud.” This evolution created an opportunity for students to share their messages of concern to audiences worldwide via the BFF website. As always, entries are free of charge and open to any student attending a Friends school, camp, or Meeting.
From the very first, these student films challenged the commitment to diversity in our schools and tackled meaningful subjects including learning differences, bullying, equality, environmental, and social justice issues. Although the world is ever-changing, our dedication to these issues remains steadfast.
Though fundamentally a student film festival, the influence of a faculty advisor should not be under-appreciated, and as such is a requirement for entry into the BFF. The Festival holds in high regard the collaboration between students and teachers inherent in Friends school pedagogy.
As we continue teaching our students to think critically, we also need to teach them how to effectively communicate their ideas in the evolving digital age. Thus communication and media literacy inclusion in the curriculum is essential to the Bridge Film Festival mission.
Going forward into our 3rd decade, it is our hope that Friends schools and Meetings will continue to submit original works and create their own Bridge Film Festival collections in order to expand the reach of our student voices. Let student films speak!