The arts and sciences, business and education came together recently as three of the region's leaders in these fields joined forces to launch a new environmental video and film competition and festival for Pittsburgh-area high school students.
The first SciTech Spectacular C.A.U.S.E. Challenge ™ by Bayer Corporation (Creating Awareness and Understanding of our Surrounding Environment) – a High School Film Festival in partnership with Pittsburgh Filmmakers – will take place this fall during the 10-day SciTech Spectacular, September 30 through October 9, 2005, at Carnegie Science Center and other locations.
Rory Kennedy, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, served as keynote speaker at the launch event. Kennedy addressed a group of area high school students at Carnegie Science Center about the role of the documentary as an agent for social change and shared her own experiences in making films about real-world subjects.
“A festival such as this not only helps today's students to become tomorrow's witnesses of society and its stories, but it also is an excellent vehicle to help raise their awareness of the world around them and those who are helping to preserve, protect and improve it,” said Kennedy.
Joining Kennedy were Gregory S. Babe, president and CEO, Bayer MaterialScience, LLC; Linda Ortenzo, executive director, SciTech Spectacular; and, Charlie Humphrey, executive director, Pittsburgh Filmmakers. Together, they announced the new C.A.U.S.E. Challenge and each partner's commitment to it.
“This year, Bayer celebrates the 10th anniversary of Making Science Make Sense, our company-wide initiative that works to improve science education and science literacy among U.S. students,” said Babe of Bayer. “At the same time, Bayer, through its partnerships with the United Nations and others, has long been committed to environmental and sustainable development programs around the globe. The C.A.U.S.E. Challenge allows us to merge and further strengthen these two commitments – hands-on, inquiry learning and environmental stewardship – in a meaningful way.”
SciTech's executive director Ortenzo explained the new film festival is a key component of the 10-day Spectacular. “We appeal to a very broad audience by providing unique visitor experiences, many involving the arts. We have been developing the concept of a student film competition for several years. This partnership makes it possible,” she said. “This initiative also fits the SciTech Spectacular's focus on the region's growth industries, one of which is environmental technology.”
The C.A.U.S.E. Challenge invites high school students, either individually or in teams of up to four, to write, produce and edit a video or film with a five-minute maximum length on the theme “Mutual Impact: The Environment and You.”
Its purpose is to provide a platform for high school students who are not necessarily on a science track to become more scientifically and environmentally aware using the non-traditional, yet powerful tool of film or video. In the filmmaking process, the students will develop their creative voice, master basic skills such as researching, reading, writing and speaking and build important science literacy skills like critical thinking, problem solving and team working.
“Pittsburgh Filmmakers' mission is based on a commitment to artists and the advancement of artistic excellence in film, video and photographic expression,” said Humphrey of Pittsburgh Filmmakers. “Our partnership with SciTech Spectacular and Bayer will help students understand sophisticated ways to analyze and produce media arts – visual texts like video and animation, which are some of the most important forms of communication today – in context.”
The deadline for entries is Sept. 12, 2005. There is a $5 individual entry fee and a $25 school sponsorship fee. Students can submit more than one film, but each entry must be on a separate video, DVD or miniDV. Students whose schools register can attend a free Pittsburgh Filmmakers' workshop on June 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Information on the workshop and entry forms are available at www.scitechspec.org.
All entries will be judged and recognized with a certificate for entry recognition, honorable mention, third place, second place and first place. First place winners also will be eligible to compete for the following:
Grand Prize: $1,000, a digital video camera and a personalized director's chair
Silver Prize: $500 and a Pittsburgh Filmmakers class
Viewer's Choice: $300 and a Pittsburgh Filmmakers workshop
Three Runners Up: A pair of tickets to the SciTech Spectacular