Nova Scotia

Students to become documentary filmmakers

A group of high school students plans to film a documentary during an upcoming youth-run peace conference in Serbia.

A group of high school students plans to film a documentary during an upcoming youth-run peace conference in Serbia.

"Students for Teaching Peace," an assembly of about 30 young people and a few teachers from around Halifax, will head to Belgrade during the upcoming March break.

While there, they will gather footage for a documentary about their experiences.

The idea came up last fall when ViewFinders, the Atlantic Film Festival's youth arm, screened the documentary Teaching Peace in a Time of War.

In the Triad Film/National Film Board co-production, Halifax director Teresa MacInnes charts the progress of Canadian education consultant Hetty van Gurp as she teaches students in post-war Serbia how to peacefully resolve conflicts.

Although she is flattered that her film inspired the students, MacInnes is more excited by the fact that they decided to jump into moviemaking for themselves.

"I always like to consult young people when I make films about young people, but there's nothing like it coming from their own point of view," she said.

"I feel really excited about being able to give back ... and hopefully they can take it and do something that is more representative of where they're coming from or how they feel."

With the help of MacInnes, the project will be a collaborative effort, with the students shifting between jobs like writing, shooting and directing. The goal is to have a finished product by June 2005.

"This trip won't just be for us," said Shawn Wilson, a Grade 12 student involved with the project. "We can bring the tapes back and we can make movies and we can show people. From there, we could take that across Canada."

The students are currently raising funds for the trip and the National Film Board has offered the cameras needed to complete the documentary.

Organizers with the ViewFinders film program have promised to consider the finished work for their 2005 lineup.