MANATEE -- Student filmmakers will have their moments to shine during the 10th Annual Film Rush Manatee! -- an event sponsored by the Manatee Association for Media in Education.
The event, which includes a formal screening and awards presentation, will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton.
The films were mostly created by K-12 students from the Manatee County School District as part of Film Rush: A Jim Harbin Student Media Festival.
A diverse jury comprised of Manatee school officials and Bradenton Herald staff reviewed the student films and selected the top entries. Jury members include: Manatee County School Dis
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trict Superintendent Diana Greene; Kimberlain Zenon-Richardson, assistant principal of Braden River Middle School; and Francie Snyder, a gifted student teacher at Oneco Elementary School.
This year, organizers received a whopping 73 submissions.
"We had comedy, drama and we actually had an antibullying film," said Marie Masferrer, Film Rush co-chairwoman and a library media specialist at R. Dan Nolan Middle School. "I was very proud."
"Acceptance," the film centered on antibullying, was pieced together by Masferrer's TV production class. She said some special education students at school were being bullied, and her students interviewed them for the project.
"They actually filmed them in class and in P.E. to show that they're just like everyone else. We had some very encouraging feedback from our teachers," she added. "The students really watched it and were encouraged by it and it actually started some conversations in the classroom. ... That's why we teach."
Students from Inspiration Academy entered the competition, marking the first time Masferrer said organizers have received film submissions from a nondistrict school. Masferrer said there were also student entries from Rowlett Academy, which used to be a district school. Also, Manatee School for the Arts has always participated in the event, she said.
According to a release, students who top their category will advance to the regional and, possibly, state competitions.
Film Rush Co-Chairwoman Joanne Torlucci, who teaches video production at Braden River Middle School, said certain themes come up a lot in the film submissions, but it's not the same every year. This year, she noticed some films focused on depression among students, and come with a touching message.
"Being kind -- a message that you need to be kind to other people because you don't know the struggle that any one of your other peers might be facing," she said. "We had fewer comedy entries this year than last year and we had more public service videos, so I think the students really want their messages to be heard."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051.