Mya Stirling, a Grade 9 student in the Film Production program at F.R. Haythorne Junior High, works on her entry for the school’s Hawk Film Festival.

Mya Stirling, a Grade 9 student in the Film Production program at F.R. Haythorne Junior High, works on her entry for the school’s Hawk Film Festival.

Sherwood Park, AB. — On April 18, Grade 9 students in the Film Production program at F.R. Haythorne Junior High are showcasing their cinematic works at the school’s annual Hawk Film Festival. The festival theme for this year: Flashback. “For this year’s theme, we’re taken back in time to a moment in a character’s life, where they relive an important memory,” says Mya Stirling, a Grade 9 student at F.R. Haythorne. “I got the amazing opportunity to be a part of the feature film, and it was an unforgettable experience. I felt like I really belonged. Mr. Drozda is an amazing director, and every minute we were filming was so much fun.”

Students write, shoot and edit their very own film in the class with the goal of presenting it at the festival for all their classmates, families and friends to see. The event takes place at the Strathcona County Agora. Attendees will view 15 films altogether.

“‘String Theory’ is the name of the feature film,” says Stirling. “The story follows a teenage girl as she tries to find where she fits in the world. It’s based around a theory called the red string of fate. Everyone has a path already laid out before them, their fate, their destiny—and we’re all connected to each other in some way, shape or form. The red string of fate determines our path, how our life will lead and who we are.”

At the end of the festival, HAWKSTER awards will be presented. “This event is a wonderful opportunity for these talented young students to gain exposure for the films they’ve created,” says Monty Drozda, a teacher at F.R. Haythorne Junior High. “They’re all very excited to see their work up on the big screens at the Agora and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Film Production offers students the opportunity to create their own short film from start to finish. “The program is designed to provide a general introduction to the art and history of cinema, with a focus on particular genres of the past and present,” says Drozda. “This locally-developed course for Grade 9 students covers film creation, critical viewing and the creation of short films to foster development of the student as a creator, performer, historian, critic and patron.”

Students learn about the steps in the production process, participating in all aspects of filmmaking from how to write a proper film script to camera techniques, such as a dolly zoom. Students are also taught about the history of film and its evolution to the billion-dollar industry it’s become today.

“This is a chance for us to show how much we’ve learned and how invested myself and my fellow students have become in the films we’ve made,” adds Stirling.


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,750 students in 42 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.



For more information, media can contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902