Monday, November 16, 2020


Student Voices Matter Here!

Well, 2020 has brought a global pandemic, massive wildfires, catastrophic flooding, political power grabs, explosions, uprisings, and massive street protests. In the USA we’ve even had murder hornets! We can try to make jokes about it but COVID-19 has brought great loss to us all. 

What else is happening in our mask-wearing quarantined worlds? The UK’s got Brexit, a possible second Scottish independence referendum, and perhaps a unification of the Republic of Ireland with Northern Ireland. The US is facing a chaotic election with active voter suppression and disenfranchisement efforts, and adults behaving very badly. We’ve got wars, civil conflicts, and environmental disasters. And that’s just a very small part of the world. 

Without a doubt, our lives – and our worlds – have changed for all, whether you’re an infant, teen, parent, or educator. What’s happening in your world? The Bridge Film Festival wants to know...and see. 

The Bridge Film Festival (BFF), founded in 2000, provides a voice for students attending Quaker schools and Quaker Meetings worldwide. BFF invites creative and socially conscious students to produce films that focus on messages through a Quaker lens. Listen to what acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns says about us. Read about last year’s winners

There are four categories for telling stories: Narrative, Documentary, New Media, and Public Service Announcement (PSAs). The Narrative, Documentary, and New Media entries must be ten minutes or less in length and PSAs run 30 or 60 seconds. The deadline to submit is March 12, 2021. The judging and screenings will air online globally in the Spring of 2021. 

Here’s how it works: There are no costs to participate. Advisors can work with individual students, clubs, and classes to create ideas, scripts, and films. Read the criteria and complete your entry form here

What stories, current events, life experiences will inspire your students to make and submit a film to the 2021 Bridge Film Festival? We invite you to listen to your students and to galvanize them to share their voices! Quaker schools and Quaker Meetings are found throughout the world. Will you join us in sharing your students’ voices during this extraordinary year in these remarkable times? 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

"No Phonies"

Advisor & Student Connection Pt-2

Since its inception, the Bridge Film Festival has encouraged faculty and student collaboration. Scaffolding of support for students based on age and ability is essential. The healthy exchange of ideas between students and their advisors enables them to clarify the message and effectively communicate it. As guide rails, we rely on the Friends pedagogical values of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. Often advisors who are not trained filmmakers, learn and are inspired through this process as well as their students.

Over the years we have seen video productions from schools that, although they were not student conceived, have met the spirit of the Festival and include large rolls both in front of and behind the lens for student involvement. That is why there is a non-competitive / exhibition category on the Festival's entry form. These productions reflected the themes and values of the Festival and therefore were welcome inclusions.

This year we received three such entries, "Gifted" from Tandem Friends School, "For My Country" from George School and "No Phonies" from Brooklyn Friends School. We asked Paul Romano the  Director and Producer of "No Phonies" to share his thoughts about the process.

On the Making of “No Phonies”

Every fall, Brooklyn Friends School ninth-graders read J. D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye in English class. What’s more, they then set out to follow in Holden Caufield's footsteps, exploring the many iconic New York City sites the notoriously defiant protagonist visits in the novel. This 2019-2020 school year was no exception. In fact, this was a very special year for the Catcher experience, because we caught it all on camera!

Central Park Carousel

What do you need to make a really cool short film that highlights an extraordinary learning experience? Well, first you need intelligent and innovative teachers who view the world as one big classroom. Next, you need trusting, curious students who are always game for experimentation and exploration. Finally, you need one shutter-happy chaperone who has a lot of love and respect for his colleagues and students alike.

 The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Oh, and for this one anyway, you needed an iPhone XS.

I was that iPhone wielding chaperone, and I’ll tell you it’s not always easy to keep track of your students and take the photos and video needed to justly capture an experience as multidimensional as the Catcher in the Rye trip. If you’re lucky though, as I surely was, the best shots will come out of the perfect synergy of the dual role of chaperone/ cinematographer. For instance, a favorite shot of the piece was achieved when I was fulfilling the mundane duty of holding the door to the subway entrance so that the ninth grade could ride to our next destination. With one hand on the emergency exit door and the other wrapped around my XS, video rolling, I was able to advantageously capture the truest expressions of Holden’s angsty teen spirit on the faces of our students, as they filed by. Similarly, I was able to make the most of my position at the rear of the group, to snap hundreds of photos that would come to represent in a vividly colored montage, thanks to the fall foliage and technicolor threads of our students, the trajectory of our excursion. The result is that anyone who watches can retrace ours and Holden’s steps with ease!

Special thanks to BFS’s Director of Media Services and resident video-editor extraordinaire, Andy Cohen, who made this and makes everything we bring to him into nothing less than poetry in motion.

We’re sharing this video with you again so that you can remember a time in the very recent past in which the city was our oyster. We hope you will be inspired by revisiting this cell-phone free event, that was all documented on one rule-bending chaperone’s contraband device. We like to think that Holden would be proud!

Paul Romano
US Coordinator of Experiential Learning
Brooklyn Friends School
Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Judges' Choice Awards 2020

This 30 minute presentation is perfect for a virtual student assembly.

The 2020 Results Are In!

Middle School Rules!

Judges' Choice Awards 2020

Documentary AwardMeals for Kurt, San Francisco Friends School

Narrative Award: That's So Gay, Tandem Friends School

New Media Award: Spicy SpicesGeorge School

Public Service Announcement Award: Stewardship, New Garden Friends School

Spirit of the Festival Award: A Special BlendNew Garden Friends School

Below are the Judge's Advices for all the films and tabs to the scoring for all the categories.

Entries are evaluated on communication skills, creativity, technical quality, quaker relevancy, and originality. The Spirit of the Festival award goes to the entry that best exemplifies the mission of the festival.