Daily updates from the first annual AFI DALLAS International Film Festival presented by Target, founding sponsor Victory Park, March 22 to April 1, 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

AFI DALLAS Programs Reach Students

Educational outreach is an essential component of the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival mission and programming. Question and answer sessions after screenings encourage conversation, and special panel discussions throughout the Festival have given filmmakers and patrons the opportunity to explore all facets of the film industry.

In its first year, AFI DALLAS has gone even further than the typical film festival, creating additional special programs for learners of all ages.

"One of the greatest experiences of my life was my time at the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles," Michael Cain, AFI DALLAS CEO and artistic director, says. "I was able to learn from the best and to work with others who had the same passion for film that I did."

One logical partner in these endeavors was local universities. AFI DALLAS worked with SMU, TCU and UNT to establish a series of masterclasses. In these sessions, lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman, composer Marvin Hamlisch, screenwriter Jim Hart, producer Doug Mankoff and director Sidney Pollack visited campuses and met with students and faculty from music and film departments. Students had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to ask questions and learn much from these master filmmakers.

Marvin Hamlisch also "took his show on the road" in a special session at the nationally recognized Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet High School. Hamlisch sat at the piano, played examples from his career and took questions from students filling the auditorium.

A centerpiece of AFI DALLAS educational programming in this inaugural year was the first Screen Education Workshop in North Texas. The AFI Screen Education process is about training and empowering teachers to use film and the process of filmmaking as a means of engaging their students in core subjects. Even in this first effort, the response was overwhelming.

"We were thrilled to be part of AFI Dallas," said Mitch Aiken, Director of AFI's Screen Education program. "With our colleagues at Discovery Education, we brought teachers from El Paso, Austin, Waco, Houston, Pasadena, Irving, Dallas and more, together for two days of hands-on AFI K-12 Screen Education training. The teachers were also treated to AFI Dallas film screenings in the evenings, which added greatly to their experience. We are already looking forward to next year!"