Students at Civic Life learn to speak out
Event Date : 06/10/2018

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MILLERTON — The students at Classical Magnet High School in Hartford don’t think much of the food in the school cafeteria.

This is not an uncommon state of affairs among American students.

But a group at Classical Magnet made a movie about it.

“Feeding Our Future” was the first of six student films from the Civic Life Project, shown at the The Moviehouse in Millerton on Sunday, June 10, under the aegis of The Salisbury Forum.

Also on the bill: “Seeking Sanctuary,” by T.J. Noel Sullivan of New Haven, about a man who took refuge in a church to avoid deportation to his native Ecuador; “Internet and Fourth Amendment,” by Nathan Katz of Weston, concerning the “Carpenter vs. United States” case currently before the Supreme Court; “Let Me Breathe My Dream” by a student, Novera Hasan, from Dhaka, Bangladesh, about arranged marriage; excerpts from a work in progress about the history of northwest Connecticut by students at Housatonic Valley Regional High School; and “Dawn of Decline,” a film about shrinking school enrollment in Cornwall and Falls Village, made in a week by Civic Life summer camp students from around Connecticut.

The common denominator between the films is their professionalism. They are competently produced — tightly edited, with good sound quality and photography, and written in a purposeful manner.

And the students find interesting people to interview — school officials, elected officials, experts and academics, and ordinary citizens involved in the various stories.

Dominique Lasseur, who with Catherine Tatge founded the Civic Life Project, conducted brief video interviews with some of the students. (One of them, Nathan Katz, has a profitable sideline in videotaping bar mitzvahs and could not make the trip, Lasseur noted.)

The young woman from Bangladesh said she became interested in the subject of arranged marriages of very young girls when her contemporaries in school suddenly disappeared.

The Classical Magnet team was on hand. Lasseur mentioned that, unlike in previous years, there was no budget this time around for the school food film, so the students had to be resourceful. 

The students said, in response to a question about the logistics of making the film, that because they had previous experience, they “worked to our strengths.”

Thus one student handled the bulk of the editing, and others the writing, interviewing, photography and sound.

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