Aireys Aspiring Filmmakers Awarded – Surf Coast Times

EMERGING young filmmakers at Aireys Inlet Elementary School were encouraged by a recent competition win for their stop motion animation “Plastic Riptide”, with grades 5 and 6 students winning Best Overall Project for the Boardriders Sustainability Challenge 2021.

The film is a product of the school which was selected last year to take part in Regional Arts Victoria’s Creative Workers in Schools programme, where for six months students worked with artists in residence, Rebecca Hosking of Fairhaven and Scarlet Sykes Hsterman from Melbourne.

Students took a hands-on course focusing on stop motion animation and the filmmaking process; frame rates, motion, camera and lighting setup, storyboarding, editing, sound recording, character design, and augmented reality.

The result is “Plastic Riptide,” a three-minute short highlighting the plight of marine animals when they encounter trash in their ocean habitat.

“We want to raise awareness through stop motion animation to create something that grabs attention, but also educates people about our local species,” said students Oskar and Finn.

Aireys Inlet PS students on a field research trip for Plastic Riptide. Photo: SCARLET SYKES HESTERMAN

The students researched their local environment and the creatures that live there, learned about how plastics are made, environmental health, chose a local species they wanted to raise awareness about, then created the animation by using collected plastics as materials.

“We envisioned a sustainable future for our Surf Coast environment because we would like to be able to go to the beach without swimming in plastic and continue to share it with wildlife. It’s not just our home, it’s also the home of other animals,” said student Scarlet.

“We want to show a strong message by creating a plastic dystopia and show what is happening in our oceans by plasticizing our sea animals and depicting the impact of litter on their lives,” said fellow student Eddy.

With much of the learning year impacted by COVID causing students to be homeschooled, artist Rebecca Hosking had to be nimble.

“We created containment projects for students, artistic programs that they could do at home that did not depend on being in class. Little stop motion animations that they could create themselves,” Ms Hosking said.

“Walking students through the process of stop motion animation, how to build it, skill tips and techniques. It’s the whole process of creating a movie, developing the story, developing the characters, script writing, post-animation.”

The students used their iPads to make Plastic Riptide. Photo: REBECCA HOSKING

Each armed with an iPad that allowed them to film, animate and edit, the students had all the means at their disposal to make a film, she said.

“Kids always have a digital screen on them, so I think we’re going to build your skills so you can actively represent yourself instead of just passively consuming.

“Instead of just staring at screens, these kids were developing a better understanding of critical thinking about how these projects came together. Script writing, lighting, multiple cameras.

“I’m so amazed that if you provide the technology and the skills, the students will always exceed your highest expectations of them. I’m sure a lot of students will go on to study film in high school!” added the Principal Jennifer Abel.

Sustainability is a key part of the Aireys Inlet Primary School curriculum according to Ms Abel, making it a logical thematic choice for their final film project.

“As the school is located in a coastal town, our students have grown up respecting the ocean and the environment around them. Students are passionate about learning about protecting their region and advocating for larger global issues such as climate change.

“As stewards of the environment of the future, they use their agency to persuade local councils, governments and world leaders to do better. They may only be young, but they feel they have a voice and are confident enough to make it heard.

To view “Plastic Riptide”, visit: https://aireysinletps.vic.edu.au/digital-creations/

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