What Oscars? We’ve Got Our Own Film Festival

An annual highlight of the school year, our students are treated to a documentary film festival celebrating the work of independent storytellers who provide educational, and thrilling, perspectives to explore. Designed by school director Cara Nesser, the festival takes place at the start of winter term and is guided by different thematic lessons.

After each film, students have discussions, and then participate in activities that relate to the film, adapted for each grade level. High school students, for example, write opinion essays and learn more about documentary filmmaking. Just like at Sundance, ballots are distributed for students and teachers to vote on a scale of 1 – 4. At the end of the week, the scores are tallied, and the movie with the most 4s wins “Best of the Fest!”

Monday, February 3

Film: Spellbound (2002)

Eight youthful competitors, sponsored by their hometown newspapers, travel with their families to Washington, D.C., to compete in the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Now in the national spotlight and under heavy pressure to perform from parents, teachers and their audience, the children struggle to advance toward the championship — and its accompanying scholarships and cash prizes — while approaching competitive spelling with the focus and intensity of Olympic athletes.

Shown to: Primary 1 – 4, Collége 2, Secondary 1 & 2
Theme: Putting Yourself Out There & The Rewards of Hard Work
Notes: We so love our English and French spelling bees, and this showcases real diversity in the students’ backgrounds.

Tuesday, February 4

Film: Apollo 11 (2019)

Never-before-seen footage and audio recordings take you straight into the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission as astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins embark on a historic trip to the moon.

Shown to: Primary 2 – 4, Collége 2, Secondary 1 & 2
Theme: Imagine it and make it real
Notes: A Sundance award-winner, it took 6 years to make and is a compilation of footage shot back in the day of the entire Apollo mission from start (idea) to finish (bring hime the astronauts from the moon). The footage was in archives at NASA since the 1960s. Watching it is like watching the mission come together in real-time.

Film: A Reindeer’s Journey (2019)

Ailo, a newborn reindeer, embarks on an incredible odyssey with the help of his mother.

Shown to: Kindergarten, Pre-Primary 1 & 2, Primary 1

Theme: Survival and courage
Notes: For the younger students who haven’t learned about space yet.

Film: A Reindeer’s Journey (2019)

Ailo, a newborn reindeer, embarks on an incredible odyssey with the help of his mother.

Shown to: Kindergarten, Pre-Primary 1 & 2, Primary 1

Theme: Survival and courage
Notes: For the younger students who haven’t learned about space yet.

Wednesday, February 5

Film: 1st Position (2011)

Six young ballet students, all from different backgrounds, prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, a competition in which dance schools and companies from around the world scout for new talent.

Shown to: All classes except pre-school

Theme: Working for your dream; Endurance

Thursday, February 6

Film: Inventing Tomorrow (2018)

Passionate teenage innovators from around the world create cutting-edge solutions to confront environmental threats.

Shown to: Primary 1 – 4, Collége 2, Secondary 1 & 2

Theme: A universal look at using science to solves problems
Notes: It is a wonderful and inspiring film, especially for our kids who love science. Several of the kids featured are from third world countries.

Friday, February 7

Film: The Biggest Little Farm (2018)

A couple are followed through their successes and failures as they work to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. Over the years, the desolate they purchase begins to thrive and its transformed.

Shown to: Primary 1 – 4, Collége 2, Secondary 1 & 2
Theme: Embrace the unknown/cope with problems
Notes: A model for sustainable agriculture

Film: The Elephant Queen (2019)

Athena is a mother who will do everything in her power to protect her herd when they are forced to leave their waterhole. This epic journey, narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, takes audiences across the African savannah, and into the heart of an elephant family. A tale of love, loss and coming home.

Shown to: All classes except pre-school
Theme: What makes a leader?

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