Ignacio is less than 30 miles away from Durango, yet demographically, it is a world apart. Tonight, however, Durangoans can gain a unique insight about lives of Ignacio school children at the inaugural Ignacio Student Film Festival at Fort Lewis College.
Its about the students themselves and their perspective of who they are right now, says Fort Lewis student Theresa Warren.
The film festival is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the Teacher Education Department at Fort Lewis, Ignacio Junior High School, the Southern Ute Community Action Programs (SUCAP)-funded Curiosity After School program, and the Peace Jam group of the Boys and Girls Club.
It will feature more than 30 short films written by the Ignacio students and produced by the FLC teacher education students.
Were working with Ignacio students to help them get in touch with their identity as students, said Stephen Sellers. (We want) them go places in school.
Sellers and Warren are post-baccalaureate teaching license candidates under the tutelage of William Camp, the coordinator of Field Experiences for the Teacher Education Licensure Program. Camp has sought collaboration with the Ignacio school district for the last several years.
The new program is designed to help boost attendance, improve test scores and provide a productive afterschool activity, and it also gives FLC students the experience of working in different school environments.
Its really important to us in our program that our students have experience with different student populations, Camp said.
(Ignacio is) a Title I school district and part of the poorest schools in the United States, Sellers said. Its a big disconnect for people in Durango.
Ignacio is in the process of building a new middle school and renovating the intermediate, junior high and high schools. The funding is coming from a 20-year bond.
For the last two semesters, Camps students have worked with Ignacio students, writing poems about who they are and where they are from.
The poems follow two choreographed patterns the I Am and the I Am From. This guided poetic structure was designed to help the students express their thoughts and feelings about their identities and lives. The FLC students later helped the Ignacio children to record and edit their poems on film.
Most of the films are three to eight minutes long, but one film, shot in the Southern Ute Cultural Center, will run close to 15 minutes. It explores the delicate issue of bullying.
The vast majority of the videos can be thought of as artifacts of these students lives, told in their words, Sellers said.
The event also will feature paintings, pottery, sketchbooks and handmade musical instruments created by the Ignacio students.
Camp hopes the work he and his students are doing will create a fun place kids (can) go to develop an identity between school and home.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Margaret Hedderman is a freelance writer based in Durango.