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Film gives students a voice

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As viewers take inspiration for adventure from the online 5Point Adventure Film Festival event this week, a group of local teens will be looking to the content and the craft to spark works of their own. 

It’s a new take on the VOICES program’s series of autobiographical theatre projects, tailored to the times, galvanized by partnership with 5Point and Bridges High School and backed by an Arts in Society grant.

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The alternative public school’s approach brings the program into the regular school day for the first time, and will provide 11 seniors the chance to fulfill their capstone requirements in the process. And they’ll have the help of an experienced team of local and national teaching artists: Chris Naum and Lindsey Hagen, an award-winning filmmaking duo with a focus on emotive, raw storytelling for cause-related initiatives; Cassidy Willey, a local theater artist with a proven track record of creating dynamic, original theater with youth; and Arturo Williams, who will lead students in composing their film score. 

It’s something VOICES director Renee Prince would never have tried on her own. 

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“We were looking for a way to amplify youth voices, and it felt like a really smart time for 5Point and VOICES to work together,” she said. “It’s such an intimate art form. It really opens up the possibility of seeing the day-to-day real important people and places.”

But besides the medium — and some consideration for the five points of respect, commitment, humility, purpose and balance — the process remains more or less the same. 

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“Story is story, and that’s a core value for all of us,” Prince said.“What the audience sees is a tapestry of all of the people on stage. We didn’t sit down and write a linear story and script it — we’ve given them tools to share and express aspects of their lives we feel will benefit the whole community.”

“I really desperately miss being able to gather live in a space and want to return to theatre, but keep this partnership as well,” she added. “It’s been a really pleasant surprise for us in the midst of a really challenging year.”

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She made a point of highlighting the efforts of Bridges High School teacher Adam Carballeira to bring it all together. For his part, Carballeira was thrilled. 

“It’s the best dream of public schools to have the community in there helping,” he said. “It’s so cool for my students to be working with these professional filmmakers and choreographers and musicians. So often they don’t get a chance to see adults in the wild.”

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Even better, in his estimation, is the opportunity to share the kids’ voices with the community.

“I’ve been reading their stories since the beginning, but now other people are going to be able to see how amazing and complex these kids can be,” he said. 

Filming will continue through mid-November, so it will be a bit before folks get to see the finished product, but we’ll let you know when an online screening is scheduled. 


5Point Online

More than 50 adventure films screen over five days, with an award ceremony on Sunday evening. 

Programming highlights include films by several 5Point filmmaker alumni: The Mystery by Forest Woodward, Concrete Solitude by Perry Gershkow; TranSending by Lindsey Hagen, and Games of Survival by Nicolas Natale. Each program is hosted by some of 5Point’s favorite hosts and guests including Wade Newsom and Paddy O’Connell, along with new host faces including Russ Chapman, Jen Zeuner, and Anne Keller.

Visit for tickets and passes — full access is $55 per person or $75 per household, or pay $20 for a single program ($25 for the awards program). 

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