Six film packages for schools ($6/person) are available to book by emailing Terry at email@example.com. Homeschooling families and members of the public are welcome to attend – admission is $6/person at the door. The films in these packages have been evaluated by teachers on the programming team to ensure that they have ties to curriculum and are age appropriate. Scroll down to read teacher feedback from the 2017 School Program.
To see all the screenings and workshops being offered, click on Schedule & Tickets.
Film Packages & Schedule
School screenings take place Monday, May 7 through Friday, May 11 as well as Mon, May 14. The venues are GPLT (Grande Prairie Live Theatre) and the DJC (Douglas J. Cardinal Theatre) at GPRC (Grande Prairie Regional College) – see Venues for details. If these screening times fill up, we will schedule other screenings. The packages are:
- Critter Tales (Gr 1-3) – 7 short films (70 minutes) – this delightful package features animals, a pair of trams, and magical rag dolls. Friendship, imagination, and growing up are the themes in these films from Europe, Australia, the United States, and Canada. Teachers are asked to discuss the films with their students when they return to class and to tally the votes as each student votes for their favorite. The votes from the Grade 1-3 and 4-6 packages will determine which films will screen in the School Favorites – Sprouts package on Saturday, May 12 and help determine which film wins the Youth Audience Choice award. There are several outcomes that meet curricular goals while also providing enrichment. While at the screening, students will practice attentive listening and viewing; and comprehend meaning from each of the short films. Through classroom discussion of the films, students can explore the ideas of others as they realize that other students have different favorites than they do; share their own reasons for choosing their favorites; and are encouraged to respect and support the opinions of others. The package is rated 5+.
- Mon, May 7 @ 1:00pm – GPLT
- Tues, May 8 @ 9:30am – DJC
- Mon, May 14 @ 10:00am – GPLT
- World of Wonder (Gr 4-6) – 9 short films (72 minutes) – this entertaining package of animated shorts explores metaphor (Like an Elephant in a China Shop and Outdoors), a cultural tradition (Lion Dance), and environmental change (Geno and Ice Pepper). Helping others is a theme in many of the films. Students will vote for their favorite film as they leave the screening. The votes from the Grade 1-3 and 4-6 packages will determine which films will screen in the School Favorites – Sprouts package on Saturday, May 12 and help determine which film wins the Youth Audience Choice award. The package is rated 5+.
- Wed, May 9 @ 9:30am – DJC
- Thur, May 10 @ 1:00pm – GPLT
- Mon, May 14 @ 1:00pm – GPLT
- Fire & Ice (Gr 6-9) – 8 short films (75 minutes) – this engaging package has stunning animations, insightful allegories, comedies (including a black comedy that most viewers, but not all, will find hilarious), and a documentary. Each film illustrates two contrasting ideas (e.g. pretend/reality; heat/ice; machine/nature; love/loss; digital/analog; creation/destruction; pet/wild animal). The plight of refugees is illustrated in an animated allegorical tale of a dandelion. This package of films will provide much opportunity for classroom discussion about the contrasting ideas presented in the films. Students will vote for their favorite film as they leave the screening. Student votes will determine which films screen in the School Favorites – Saplings package on Saturday, May 12 and help determine which film wins the Youth Audience Choice award. The package is rated 10+ (Coarse Language, Nudity, Not Recommended for Young Children) for mild coarse language and the nudity of an animated stop-motion man who represents mankind as he walks the earth in prehistoric times.
- Wed, May 9 @ 12:30pm – DJC
- At Risk (Gr 9-12 Social Studies) – 6 short films (118 minutes) – this thought-provoking package contains dramas, a comedy, and a documentary from Europe, Israel, Africa, and the US. Issues that divide people (e.g. religious/geographical conflict) and bring them together are the themes addressed in this package which has strong curricular ties to globalization and nationalism. Students will vote for their favorite film as they leave the screening. Student votes will determine which films screen in the School Favorites – Saplings package on Saturday, May 12 and help determine which film wins the Youth Audience Choice award. This package is rated 14+ (Coarse Language, Violence).
- Thur, May 10 @ 9:30am – DJC
- Fri, May 11 @ 10:45am – GPLT
- The Sky’s the Limit (Gr 9-12 English/Languages) – 7 short films (102 minutes) – this insightful package deals with the theme of limitations: those that are imposed upon us by ourselves, others, or the laws of nature; and those that can be surpassed despite expectations and perceptions. Two of the films are adaptations of short stories (The Foster Portfolio and The Wedding Speech). One is a metaphor comparing life to free fall (On Your Way). One is a documentary that illustrates the power of chance and choice in one man’s life (Richard Twice). And one is the Academy Award winning poignant story of a deaf child who is given the gift of communication (The Silent Child). This package of films will provide much opportunity for classroom discussion related to comprehending, analyzing, and communicating the intent of the filmmakers and the artistry used to convey it. Students will vote for their favorite film as they leave the screening. Student votes will determine which films screen in the School Favorites – Saplings package on Saturday, May 12 and help determine which film wins the Youth Audience Choice award. This package is rated 14+ (Coarse Language, Violence, Mature Subject Matter).
- Thur, May 10 @ 12:30pm – DJC
- Fri, May 11 @ 1:30pm – GPLT
- Cinema Francophone (Gr 9-12 French) – 8 short films (95 minutes) – this diverse and entertaining package of animated films, dramas, and comedy has one thing in common: French dialogue (with English subtitles) in films from France and Canada. Students will vote for their favorite film as they leave the screening. Student votes will determine which films screen in the School Favorites – Saplings package on Saturday, May 12 and help determine which film wins the Youth Audience Choice award. This package is rated 14+ (Coarse Language, Violence).
- Mon, May 7 @ 9:30am – GPLT
Teacher Feedback from 2017 School Program
Critter Tales (Gr 1-3)
Great variety of shows! The kids really enjoyed the selections this year! (Megan Hutchison, Grade 1 Teacher)
St. Mary’s Catholic School, Sexsmith
It was great! The price is reasonable! I love that there’s nothing like it in the region! It’s unique and many students probably wouldn’t go if we didn’t take them. I like that the movies are short, so it keeps their attention the whole time, very engaging! And something totally different to experience. (Danielle Williams, Grade 1 Teacher)
Harry Balfour School
The selection was amazing!! (Collette Simpson, Grade 3 Teacher)
World of Wonder (Gr 4-6)
Great opportunity for kids to experience an enrichment activity! (Maryanne Buck, Grade 5&6 LA Teacher)
Harry Balfour School
Loved the package and the variety of films! The students absolutely loved it. Having gone for so many years, my reasons for going are:
- It is meaningful. The students are going to get something out of this field trip that will stay with them, unlike perhaps a trip to the swimming pool. It allows for further discussion afterwards and, as a teacher, we can tie it to educational outcomes by having those discussions afterwards.
- It’s unique. There’s nothing else like it in our city.
- It’s easy. Unlike many field trips that require waivers, high parent volunteer to student ratios or a lot of teacher involvement, this one literally only requires us to come sit somewhere and enjoy a film.
- It’s a level playing field. As a teacher, I’m always aware of field trips that highlight any inequalities between students. A trip to the skating rink will easily highlight the students who have parents who can afford skates/lessons for their children and those kids who have to borrow skates from a neighbour or friend (this is why I don’t take my kids skating anymore). It also levels the playing field academically. Every student enjoys watching films. In previous years, it was a bit challenging as I always have a few students who cannot read so subtitled films were lost on them. This year, all my students enjoyed the films and there wasn’t a disparity between students who enjoyed the trip and those who struggled.
(Brandy Vigen, Grade 5 Teacher)
Love the variety of styles, languages and themes. So much to talk about. The key element for being able to do field trips these days is the connection to the curriculum. If there isn’t a strong curricular connection, we are not going to be able to do the field trip. It’s that simple.
- In my opinion, the film festival provides a world class cultural experience for students. It allows them to see the world through so many different lenses which touches on many curricular areas – Social Studies, Language Arts, Health, Art & Music. The discussions and projects that come out of this experience are always amazing. These films show them the world and in turn make their own worlds just a little bit larger.
- The second key element is the price point. Reality is that schools have next to no budget for field trips. The film festival is very affordable and is something that can be budgeted and planned for in advance. For a school like ours, the cost and location are a factor. We did a cost-share this year with students (they paid $2 each and the school covered the rest). We also saved by walking as a round-trip bus ride is almost $200.
- I’ve been a long-time advocate in the schools I’ve worked in for the educational and cultural value of the film festival. I think it’s really important that students have these types of opportunities. There are many administrators that hold some misconceptions as to what exactly is the content of the film packages. I’ve heard it referred to as a short film equivalent to an afternoon at the Cineplex. So untrue! There hasn’t been a year where I have felt that the films didn’t provide a curricular connection.
- It’s a fantastic festival that we are very fortunate to have here in GP. It has been a highlight of my students’ school year for the past 6 years.
(Terra Shewchuk, Vice Principal)
Lost & Found (Gr 6-9)
Alexander Forbes School
Excellent variety of films (length and content). (Kara Sewall, Grade 7/8 Drama Teacher)
Harry Balfour School
My school has a very strong emphasis on using field trips that connect strongly to student learning and outcomes so that my kids really enjoyed it was secondary to the fact I could actually use the films with my LA program. Most important was having a strong theme that ties the selected films together, though varied approaches are taken within each theme/film. Other reasons for attending:
- I love that teachers are in on the planning AND there is a warning about the different rating system, content, etc all on the website prior to us booking.
- Classroom discussion is a HUGE part of the reason I wanted my kids to attend this year. I love the essence of the short film, they only have 6-10 minutes to really get the message across, use symbolism, evoke emotion. I have not done a traditional film study in my class this year because I always worry about instructional time, etc. Having a cohesive theme for the shorts, in this case ‘Lost & Found’, I can provide my kids with a lot of choice, while only spending one afternoon to view so many films. Also because the movies are so short, the content is so valuable to the message. Having a strong theme is crucial to me wanting to bring kids again. We can compare and contrast, we can talk about symbolism, etc. Many of my students loved Bus Story too, tied into Carpe Diem, and they can use the lessons across many writing activities.
- The medium of film is very comfortable for most kids, they love sharing their take on each, their likes/dislikes, little parts they think no one else noticed, etc.
- The teachers at my school who attend rave about it.
(Jamie Tillotson, Grade 7 LA Teacher)
Riverstone Public School
It was a great screening today – my students were very excited about it! I love the exposure that students get to short films (they primarily only really have experience with Hollywood length films) and I have found that using them in my Film Studies class and having them attend the Reel Shorts gives them an exposure they wouldn’t otherwise have. (Angela Nilsson, Film Studies 7/8 Teacher)
Ecole St. Gerard/St. Catherine Catholic School
This was an amazing selection of short films. There was a good range of humorous to serious with a nice blend of animation and live action. I am completely satisfied with the curricular connections. We had a great deal of discussion both during and after the event. Reel Shorts provides a fantastic opportunity to enrich the curriculum with variety and the theme was perfect for the grade. Without any prompting, many made connections to the novels and other readings from class. We came away with a variety of writing prompts that the students were excited about. They enjoyed trying to support their choice for favourite film and were curious as to why others chose different films. The film selections are fantastic! (Donna de Bruin, ELA Teacher)
At Risk (Gr 9-12 Social Studies) and Fateful Decision (Gr 9-12 English/Languages
Hines Creek Composite School
I think the festival is great. I like the exposure to culture and political issues that we are sheltered from in our small town. Many of our students don’t travel beyond a 200 km radius of their home so they see more of the same wherever they go. While many of the films are confusing for them, through conversation we are able to bring to light some of the issues and help broaden their ideas. (Sherri MacDowall, Principal)
AWESOME!! We had an absolutely amazing day … all three packages were a perfect blend of quality films which will allow hours of discussion for my students! Major Kudos to all those involved in the selection process … I know how difficult a task that must be!! Again, thank you for all you do in creating this opportunity for my students! Ultimately, as an LA teacher, I honestly see this as the most valuable resource/event/activity for the Visual Literacy portion of our curriculum, but it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to discuss different ideas, issues, concerns, etc. … discussions which are naturally generated by the films. This generation gets most of its information from screens … phones, electronics, TV’s, and this kind of activity helps them become more of a ‘thinking’ audience. Other reasons for attending:
- The price is fantastic!! If we didn’t live so far and had more money, I would take ALL students from grades 3 to 12 to this event.
- I send a cautionary Permission Slip making sure the parents are aware that these films have been carefully vetted but there is always a chance that some material may be of mature content. They are fine with this. As long as we are up front and transparent, this is not an issue. (by the way: your selection crew does an AMAZING job!!!)
- It is unique … But for me it fits so perfectly into the Visual Literacy component of LA. The number one reason I take students and promote this event to every teacher I speak with is it is the best way to immerse students in Film.
- Film Study is a major component of my LA classes, and I have a Grade 9 Media class combined with a Senior Film Study course, so this festival is an integral part of my teaching.
(Nancy Fontaine, Grade 10-12 LA Teacher)
St. Mary’s Catholic School, Sexsmith
We love “what you do” and plan to bring our students every year. It is an amazing experience for our kids. Also important to me:
- Many students and teachers are engaging students in creating short films and videos for classroom projects and assignments so going to the film fest is an excellent experience to help students and teachers think about dramas and documentaries and how they can be analysed and created to communicate important issues in our world today.
- Many of my students would not experience the short film genre much as they primarily view feature films, usually the Hollywood versions of the entertainment variety – and not the real life issues variety – which is the kind that I love and want my students to watch more of.
(Barbara London, Grade 12 Teacher)
Cinema Francophone (Gr 9-12 French)
Peace Wapiti Academy
Great choice of films. This year’s package was truly awesome. (Sheryl Deimert, Grade 9-12 French Teacher)
Filmmaker Class Visits
Grande Prairie Composite High School
Leah Johnston was entertaining and informative. Leah interacted well with the students – engaged and receptive. (Devon Whipple, Grade 9-12 Drama, Film Studies, and English Teacher)
Peace Wapiti Academy
Paul Bailey answered all questions and he discussed both the writing and acting aspects which was tailored to both classes and kept all students interested. He was very enjoyable and the content was perfect. Thanks! (Darcy Nielsen, ELA Teacher)
Anatomy of a Scene workshop
St. Mary’s Catholic School, Sexsmith
Scott Belyea got through lots of material that was related to the filmmaking workshop topic (blocking and filmmaking in general). Really communicated the meaning and the importance of blocking (I actually get what it means now). I took some notes to help me plan a Short Film assignment for my students. Hearing the language of filmmaking from a filmmaker was also valuable to me. I think the workshop was great. (Barbara London, Grade 12 Teacher)