Classroom Critic


Classroom Critic


Date: March 19, 2014
by: Observer staff


The mission of Sarasota Film Festival’s education department is to inspire, educate and entertain students by promoting creativity, collaboration and community involvement.

Classroom Critic is a program for middle school students, in which they learn to appreciate the art of film and analyze it critically. As part of the program, students screen youthFEST shorts and are taught how to write a film review based on SFF curriculum. Below, we feature four of the students’ reviews.

 SFF provides its education programs free to students, and during the festival, April 4 through April 13, youthFEST films are free for kids ages 12 and under. Tickets are available at the SFF Box Office inside Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20. For more information, visit


Maxwell Ruschau | 7th grade, The Out-of-Door Academy
Emmeline is the sweetly comic, absurd fabulation of a girl who isn't cute like everyone else.

Emmeline is a fantastic, happy, and sometimes sad short film. This film is creative and innovative. The director did a great job. Even though there was minimal narrative between the characters, the narrator did a fantastic job and the story was told very well. The characters were perfect for the role they were playing, and they were also dressed to match the character. Also, the cinematography and editing were very good. The sound effects and music were good, as well as the camera placements.

One thing that is great about this film is that there are no spoilers and it keeps people excited for what is going to happen next, unlike some other short films that make me fall asleep! Personally, “Emmeline” is a must-see, and not just because of how good of a film it is. “Emmeline” also gives a great life lesson, which is to always be nice and treat others like a normal person, even if they are a little different.  Even though Emmeline is different, the man was still nice to her, unlike many other people that would have been mean to her.

Every lesson goes back to the golden rule — treat others the way you want to be treated — and if you follow that rule, you will be very successful in life.

Christian Ballard | 7th grade, Booker Middle School
The film “Emmeline” was very good. I liked the movie because it was timeless and a bit funny. Also, it’s about somebody who doesn’t fit in. The film has great cinematography and has won multiple prizes.

The film introduced Emmeline as a girl who doesn’t fit in anywhere, literally anywhere. The film’s climax is where she finds someone. The movie tells people who don’t fit in that you can still fit in.

The actors portrayed the roles excellently. They added everything to the film. The writer tells the story of a girl who finds life difficult.

Overall, the film is brilliant! The audience will love it. I highly recommend this. I rate the movie 10 out of 10 stars!

‘Cap or Kippah’

Eli Koplin | 7th grade, Goldie Feldman Academy
The film “Cap or Kippah” is an inspiring documentary, directed by Susanne Engels, that tells an outstanding story about a young boy (Bram) who feels that he is different since he is a Jew. Bram and his mother are the only practicing Jews out of 3,000 people in his village in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The movie's mood was never really set throughout the film. At some times the mood would be sad because of what his schoolmates say about Jews. For example, in the beginning there are chants that say "Gas the Jews." Then at other times it would be in an upbeat mood because he is at an AFC Ajax game (one of Holland's soccer teams). The plot of the film isn't really the most original idea for a movie because many other people have made articles or documentaries on addressing the topic of religion. Overall, I definitely enjoyed the movie and recommend this movie to people over the age of 12. For the film you really need to be mature because the focus of the movie is very intense.

Jenny Marcus | 7th grade, Goldie Feldman Academy

The film “Cap or Kippah” directed by Susanne Engels, is a documentary about a young boy named Bram who is Jewish and does not want to get bullied for his religion. He lives in the Netherlands and the film is set in the modern day. When I first saw this documentary, I was surprised to see that people were getting bullied because of who they were. I liked this film because it has lots of detail and tells about the difficulties of his life. I think this should be shown worldwide because anyone of a different religion should not get treated this way.

The film started out with people chanting horrible things about Jews and then they bring up a boy named Bram who is a Jew. Bram had not gotten bullied in this film, but talks about different things like how he wants no one finding out about him being Jewish except when he goes to class for his religion with other people. Throughout the film, he is happy and some parts when he hears people saying horrible things about Jews he gets all emotional and it makes you upset to think how this could happen to you or anyone who is a Jew or any religion.

The film had more than enough detail and you could also understand him even though he spoke a different language. I had not liked how the screen was blurry at some points, but when I went back I realized they meant to make it blurry because it goes into the film. This film should be recommended for teens because they will understand more than younger kids. I would overall rate this four out of five stars.

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