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RSA Catalyst supported Keith Heggart FRSA, a teacher and activist who has been working with young people in Australia to develop short films about issues of importance to the students and the local community.

The first Justice Citizen's Film Festival

 

Keith worked between February and June of this year with more than 100 Year 9 students from McCarthy Catholic College (situated between Sydney and Brisbane), for an hour every fortnight. He took the students through the processes of researching, storyboarding, shooting and editing films. The films themselves covered a range of topics that participants had identified as being important, including racism, refugees, domestic violence, water pollution and much more.

I think that it is important we encourage young people to be active in their local community. Too often, we don’t listen to their concerns – or allow them to be part of a solution. That’s what this film festival is all about

- Keith Heggart

Keith's project received £1,000 from the RSA's Catalyst seed fund for Fellows' projects in January 2012 - and was the first Catalyst-funded project in Australia.

The resulting films were shown at the first annual Justice Citizens Film Festival, held at Kingswood Neighbourhood Centre, to a packed house of more than 50 people, including friends, family, community members and local councillors and politicians. Getting into the spirit of things, Federal MP, David Bradbury, recorded his own film introducing the evening.

Keith said, ‘I think that it is important we encourage young people to be active in their local community. Too often, we don’t listen to their concerns – or allow them to be part of a solution. That’s what this film festival is all about.’

I totally think that people would change their mind about dirt bike safety if they saw our film. I guess we are being active citizens by doing this – we’re helping out our community

- Daniel Spicer, student film-maker

The films that were shown on the evening can now be viewed on the groups Facebook page: www.facebook.com/justicecitizens.

The students were assisted by local journalist, Bernie Burke, and worked through the RSA Australia and New Zealand branch to secure the Catalyst funding. Keith plans to work with more local schools in the next year to make the project even bigger than it currently is!  After the success of the first event, a second Justice Citizens Film Festival is also now planned.

Reflections from a student film-maker

Student film-maker Daniel Spicer comments:

"We made  a film about Dirt Bike Safety, because we thought that was an important issue for us. We both like to ride dirt bikes, and we know that people can get injured if they don’t ride them properly. For example, my brother was badly hurt when he came off his dirtbike. That’s why we made the film we did. Our film gives dirt bike riders lots of tips to remember when they are riding their bikes so they don’t hurt themselves.

Justice Citizens was good because we learnt lots of things about accidents and stuff. Like how many people in Australia are injured every year on motorbikes. We also learnt heaps of stuff about how to make a film – like adding music, and using cameras and even doing voiceovers.

I totally think that people would change their mind about dirt bike safety if they saw our film. I guess we are being active citizens by doing this – we’re helping out our community."

Useful links

Catalyst Fund homepage

Matthew Mezey is Online Community Manager. Twitter: Matthew Mezey

* Is there an ‘RSA Connector’ for your country yet?: http://bit.ly/RSAconnectors

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