MANATEE COUNTY — As the lights dimmed and a giant movie screen lowered from the ceiling in Braden River High School’s auditorium, students’ excited chatter turned to an enthusiast round of cheers.
More than 400 students packed into the auditorium of Braden River High School March 9, to see their classmates show off their talents in all areas of the arts, as Braden River’s Academy of Arts and Communications Technology hosted its fourth annual Art & Film Festival. The event featured a screening of more than a dozen short films, as well as choir, orchestra and dance performances.
“This (event) enables us to showcase the Braden River Arts and Communications Academy, and it incorporates not just the videos, but dance, chorus, orchestra, band and artwork,” said teacher Jillian Bieber, who co-leads the academy with teacher Bill Ferrell. “This is our biggest event (of the year).”
In addition to live performances, this year’s festival featured screenings for 16 student-made films in categories of short film, music video and interviews/newscast/public service announcement.
“(Students) come up with some of the most amazing, original ideas (for videos),” Bieber said.
Although the Art & Film Festival is hosted by the arts and communications academy, every Braden River student — regardless of educational focus — was invited to participate. In total, 25 entries were submitted for the contest. A judging panel of community leaders whittled down the selection of films for last week’s screening and also selected winners.
Bieber said the annual event not only allows academy students to show off their abilities, but also introduces other students in the school to what the academy offers.
Braden River’s Arts and Communications Technology Academy is the largest academy at the school with about 700 students and 31 teachers participating, Bieber said.
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