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Winnipeg film festival invites students to express their views on human rights

A Winnipeg film festival that’s now in its third year aims to showcase films about human rights from a student lens.

The Film for Human Rights Student Film Festival is set for the end of May, when movies by students across Winnipeg will screen at the Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre.

Saul Henteleff, a teacher at Maples Collegiate in Seven Oaks School Division who organizes the festival, says it’s an important opportunity for students to learn about filmmaking and human rights issues.

“Whether it’s for the kids to learn about the topics and understand what the issues were, or to make radical suggestions for change in the world, this was just an opportunity for the teachers and their students to deep dive into into human rights issues,” Henteleff said in an interview with CBC’s Weekend Morning Show on Saturday.

The festival has “taken off,” Henteleff said, and has taught teachers a lot about the way students learn and how they view human rights.

“What adults may not see themselves often can come through the eyes of a child,” he said.

“Children’s perspectives, children’s values, children’s points of view about human rights on so many levels, it is really valuable for adults to witness and engage with.”

Henteleff said students from Grade 1 to 12 classrooms across Manitoba can submit their films by the end of March. University and college student filmmakers are also welcome.

Becoming better filmmakers

The festival, which has been supported by the province and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, is one of two festivals Henteleff has organized, along with the Seven Oaks Student Film Festival, now going on its 10th year.

“It was really becoming obvious for us at Seven Oaks that the human rights issues were very pronounced, and that something we could do would be to help teachers and students through the film festival to explore those issues with their students,” Henteleff said.

Two people stand next to a street.
Tory Peters, right, and Saul Henteleff, left, are helping students at Maples Collegiate create films for an upcoming student film festival. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

To guide his Grade 8 students at Maples Collegiate on filmmaking, Henteleff enlisted the help of Grade 12 student Tory Peters, a student filmmaker at Maples Met School.

A young filmmaker himself, Peters said it was fun to watch the students develop their ideas.

“That’s probably where I have had the most fun,” he told the Weekend Morning Show.

“Actually working with the students and hearing their ideas and pushing them to be just a little bit more creative than they think they might be able to be.”

The Weekend Morning Show (Manitoba)9:39Calling all student filmmakers: Winnipeg festival highlighting human rights wants your movies

A local film festival is inviting classrooms to submit films highlighting human rights issues. Saul Henteleff, an English and film instructor at Maples Collegiate in Winnipeg and co-ordinator of the Film for Human Rights Student Film Festival, and Tory Peters, a filmmaker and Grade 12 student at Maples Met School, tell us about it.

For Henteleff, that mentorship helps Peters, as well as the younger filmmakers.

“When you get into a classroom and you have to teach things, it helps you become a better filmmaker. You’re looking at the process and going, ‘Well, this works and that doesn’t.’

“And so he’s learning through the process to help his own process,” he said.

“Once those films are completed and presented, it’s both really encouraging and also sometimes inspiring.”

WATCH | A 2021 story on the new Film for Human Rights Student Film Festival:

Call out to student film makers

2 years ago

Duration 2:10

A new Winnipeg film festival is challenging students and teachers to put human rights in focus.

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