Shepaug students to screen film at White House
WASHINGTON — A film that a group of middle schoolers made in Washington, Connecticut, will be screened next month in Washington, D.C. — at the White House.
Four students and their teacher, Breanne Pitt, were chosen in early October after they submitted a short movie with the theme “the world I want to live in,” to White House staff in June.
Their film, a three-minute faux newscast in which they outlined a world without cruelty, traffic and violence, is the fruit of countless after-school Tuesdays of Video Club. They sent their movie to the White House right before summer break, and weeks ago they were invited to the White House Student Film Festival. None of them expected to be selected, the students said.
“I just can’t believe that I’m going to D.C. with my friends,” said Roxanne Edel, one of the students making the trip. Of the four students going to Washington D.C., only one of them has visited the capital before.
Kayleigh Hendy has never been out of the tri-state area, she said. But now, the eighth-grader who portrayed a news anchor is packing, readying to potentially meet the president.
“It’s pure excitement,” she said.
The White House staff noticed their film, and ranked it among the top 20 sent in — out of 700 films submitted. So Pitt and four of the now eighth-graders will be driving down to D.C. on Oct. 1 for the two-day film fest with the president and his staff.
The White House told the crew that only four of the seven students who worked on the video could make the trip, so the four selected where the ones who put in the most work, Pitt said.
Regardless of who is making the trip, all seven are proud and excited their work has garnered this much attention, Pitt said.
“After hearing the president say ‘this is what I want you to do,’ they got really motivated.” Pitt said, adding that the seven then set about creating a newscast set in 2024, a newscast with no bad news.
Oddly, several of the girls said, the world they want to live in in 2025 looks a lot like the world they already live in. They drew inspiration from their area’s rural beauty, its often car-less roads and the many residents with get-along attitudes, they said
“The world I live in is the world the rest of the world should live in,” said Lydia Hagen, who portrayed a traffic reporter in the film.
And why was the film selected?
Although the White House could not be immediately reached for comment, Pitt has some ideas.
“The world that they want to live in is where more people can get along,” Pitt said, adding that whether it’s the White House, or your house, people can get behind that message.
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