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Students can take their movies to the max

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Aspiring filmmakers in Rosemount's schools have a unique new chance to see their work on the big screen.

The really, really big screen.

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The Digital Film Factory -- the film and video career development department at Rosemount High School -- is looking for entries for its first District 196 Film Festival, to be held March 5 at the IMAX theater at the Minnesota Zoo. The competition, open to all high school and middle school students in the district, has categories for public service announcements, experimental and music videos, stop motion and traditional animation, narrative short films and documentaries.

The idea for the contest has been bouncing around for a few years in the minds of film and video teachers Jim Norris and Mark Hubbard.

"I was trying to come up with an idea or a way of drawing students in, and that seemed like a logical connection," Hubbard said. "We've taken kids (to the IMAX) for movie releases, and we also get a behind-the-scenes look at the IMAX and the films. We've developed a good relationship."

A couple of years ago students in Hubbard's class drew three-second animations on IMAX film stock and got to see their work projected on the supersize screen. Hubbard sees the film festival as a good next step for a developing relationship between the district and the theater.

"It's really cool for the students to be able to see their work in that kind of venue, on that big a screen," Norris said. "The sound system in the IMAX is 12,000 watts. It's quite an experience."

The film production students recently took a field trip to see the new Tron movie at the IMAX, and Norris said the experience got students excited.

"They were all, like, 'This is going to be so cool,'" Norris said.

The film festival is still in the very early stage. Hubbard and Norris won't start looking for sponsors until after the holiday break. But students are already starting to think about their entries. Molly Dziekan, an Eastview High School senior who attends the film class at RHS, said she plans to enter one of her projects in the contest.

"It's just exciting to show your family members and friends what you've been working on," she said.

For more information on the film festival visit district196.org/rhs/filmfestival.

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