See Stories’ First Annual Student Film Festival: Celebrating Youth Voices Across Alaska

See Stories held our inaugural student film festival, a transformative celebration of young filmmakers from every corner of the state. With invaluable support from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, we collaborated with teachers to lead film workshops in communities like Wrangell, Cordova, Unalaska, Kodiak, Juneau and beyond. The outcome was not just a dazzling array of short films, but a testament to the creativity, diversity and passion of Alaska’s youth, and the profound impact of their stories.

The festival opened with a heartwarming film called “Missy” by Lily and Taylor from Wrangell, which won the award for “Sweetest Film.” From there, we traveled to Kokhanok for John Ramos’ breathtaking “Fish Camps,” to Cordova for an inside look at an art classroom, to North Pole for a courageous documentary on racism in schools. 

We also had films that educated and inspired us, like Mika from Homer’s powerful interviews about youth homelessness and Sonya from Stebbins’ poetic voiceover about ice fishing. And we can’t forget Teddy from Kalsag, whose expert tutorial on wood cutting won “Best Instructional Video!”

In between the films, we heard from special guests like Tay Tarantino, an acclaimed hip-hop artist working with our students to create original songs and music videos. We watched a moving piece about mental health called “Silent Struggles,” featuring Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School students.

Throughout the event, in the Zoom chat, students shared what the weather was like in their communities, creating a vibrant and real-time ‘waterfall’ of responses from all across the state. This interactive element was a beautiful reminder of how this festival not only showcased the talent of Alaska’s youth but also fostered a sense of community and connection, bridging the gaps between the farthest-flung corners of our state.

As Marie Acemah, See Stories’ founder and director, said in her opening remarks, “Choosing films to share today was torture. It was kind of an impossible task. We were mostly blown out of the water by how great everyone’s work was.” We couldn’t agree more!

Thank you to all the students for sharing their stories, talents, courage, and big hearts with us. Thank you to the teachers who supported them and made this all possible. Thank you to our community for believing in the power of youth voices.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more student films and updates from See Stories. Together, we’re building a future where Alaska’s youth are empowered to tell their stories and shape our state’s future.


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