student filmmakers
Tighes Hill Public School students will learn if their film 'Ghoul School' wins in this year's 'Film By...Invitation' during NSW Education Week next week. Photo: Peter Stoop

“You can’t hum if you hold your nose.”

It might sound like “hocus pocus” but a group of Tighes Hill Public School students are hoping these words of wisdom make their film ‘Ghoul School’ the best in NSW.

The budding filmmakers have had their 5-minute work chosen as a finalist in this year’s annual ‘Film By…Invitation’ film festival.

They are one of just 18 NSW schools in the running to win the Bryan’s Pick Award, named after popular Australian actor Bryan Brown.

Production crew member and the film’s lead actor Oscar Gronhaug says the Halloween-themed production is “all just a joke”.

“We wanted people to just have a laugh and learn something new,” he said.

“The film is for kids but maybe eight to 12 year-olds because they understand irony.

“Everyone [in the film] is doing these amazing magic tricks, it’s incredible, but the most amazing thing turns out to be so silly. It’s ironic.”

Oscar, who hopes to one day be an actor, said the assembled team included students from Years 1 to 6.

“Anybody could join in, all the kids just had to come with a magic trick,” he said.

“It worked quite well. Everyone cooperated well and we learned lots of new skills.”

Tighes Hill Public School teacher Kerrie Armstrong said the students’ work was impressive.

“The brief was it had to contain a bunch of hocus-pocus and it had to feature a pumpkin,” she said.

“I think they’ve produced something really clever.”

‘Ghoul School’ will screen next week as part of NSW Education Week celebrations.

The line-up for the festival has been drawn from 15 film festivals involving more than 300 schools from west to Broken Hill, north to the Tweed and south to Merimbula.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the festival, which debuted in 2019, will this year be held as a live stream event.

Film by … is an initiative of NSW Education’s Arts Unit and is aimed at developing students’ and teachers’ filmmaking skills and encouraging them to share their stories.

Award-winning Australian actor and Film by patron Bryan Brown said it was wonderful to see so many students making films.

“It gives us a chance to know what’s important to you,” he said.

“Film breaks down all the barriers and gives us a chance to understand we’re not very different from each other and if we’re not very different we can get to like each other a lot.”

Film by … organiser Glen Carter said the organisation was celebrating its 10th anniversary this year having started in 2010 with just one festival in southern Sydney.

“The virtual film festival is a wonderful chance for students to share their creativity with other students from across the state,” he said.

Mr Brown will select his festival winner, while school communities across NSW will have the chance to vote in the People’s Choice Award after the festival airs.

Films will screen at midday on August 5, with winners announced Friday 7 August.

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