Montclare Film Festival – Lights, Camera, Action!

21 Apr Montclare Film Festival – Lights, Camera, Action!

Montclare Children’s School is  proud to present our first annual Montclare Film Festival with Writopia Lab from May 18-May 20th, 2015!


Montclare Children’s School has been seeking innovative solutions to integrating technology into our classrooms in a developmentally and age-appropriate manner. It was with this goal in mind that Montclare Children’s School parent and founder of the Award Winning program Writopia Lab, Rebecca Wallace-Segall, was approached with the idea of piloting a film-making program with a group of our 4-year-olds. Wallace-Segall felt confident that with the guidance of Wrtiopia’s trained staff the children would be successful in creating a story and telling it using digital cameras, both hand-held and on tripods, and iPads.

As expected, bringing preschoolers and Writopia’s filmmaking/story-telling program together proved to be a winning combination. The pilot program’s results were outstanding and thus filmmaking was made an integral part of the four-year-old curriculum for the following school year.

When the first of the four’s films was shown at Montclare’s Curriculum Night in October of 2014, the overwhelmingly positive response led to the idea of hosting a full-fledged Film Festival. The Montclare Film Festival will take place over three days, May 18th through May 20th, each day showcasing the films of one of our three four-year-old classrooms. Parents will have the opportunity to join their children in viewing the students’ undeniably adorable, unique films created with the expert guidance of Writopia duo, Yael Schick, Associate Director of Programs and Eunju Namkung, Program Developer and Coordinator.

It is important to note that the films, while fun to watch, are an inspiring visual byproduct of significant work accomplished behind the scenes. In early childhood education, storytelling (and story reading) is an essential pre-literacy tool, allowing children to develop vocabulary and language, expand story comprehension and retention while also strengthening critical listening skills. Story is where the filmmaking process begins, with the children imagining and telling their own narrative. Developing pre-literacy skills in tandem with the engaged exploration of hands-on technology has been a dynamic learning experience for Montclare’s students and educators.

Ms. Schick kindly shared, in detail, her observations about the Filmmaking program and process at Montclare as follows:

“It has been wonderful to see how the students are so excited and committed to their stories. When we walked into the Yellow Room (youngest 4s classroom) after a three-week hiatus for the holidays, our group of filmmakers spontaneously jumped to their feet cheering, “Time to tell the Chicken Nugget story!”

We take great joy in seeing our more introverted students shine brightly throughout the filmmaking process. While some eschew being filmed and are drawn to working with the camera, capturing the scenes unfolding around them, others ultimately choose to be filmed, and find confidence performing in a safe, supportive space.

In January, we began our documentary filmmaking unit. We marvel at how students are able to retain the skills acquired in the narrative fiction unit and apply them to the interview and handheld-camera style used in documentary filmmaking.”

We are excited to offer our first ever Montclare Film Festival, May 18th through May 20th, 2015 – featuring the work of our four-year-old students and the wonderful Writopia Lab team.

Film Festival FAQ

  • How many films will be shown – how many films does each classroom make? 

In total, the students are working on 20 projects over the year. We will be showing between three and four films for each classroom’s festival.

  • On average how long is each film?

Films are between three and six minutes long.

  • When is the film festival and can we come?:

Sorry, Montclare Families only!  The Festival takes place from Monday, May 18 through Wednesday, May 20th, 2015.

  • What are some of the topics and titles of the films? 

Here is our list of our short-film titles and summaries:


The Clock A young boy loses his clock to a witch who initially seems interested in the clock’s batteries, but perhaps there’s more to her than it appears.
Dragon & the Peacock A hungry dragon storms a tiger’s den in search of the tiger’s good friend, a peacock.
Barnyard Farm The animals at the Barnyard Farm are woken in the middle of the night to a phone call, and learn that the farmer has gone off to find food and that they must take care of themselves.
Magic Swimming Pool Children playing in a swimming pool are sent on an adventure, when the pool they are swimming in magically transforms into an ocean.
Halloweentown A superhero arrives in Halloweentown, a town cast in perpetual night, just when a family of ghosts and witches are in need of help to defeat invisible villains.
Hampton Monsters A group of monsters are playing on Monster South Hampton beach when they discover a strange new creature… a giraffe!
Tiger Movie A baby tiger, helped by an assortment of vehicles, journeys across the world to find her beloved lost teddy bear.
10-year-old movie A Yellow Room student takes a mysterious taxi to Montclare. When he arrives, he discovers that the Yellow Room is now for ten-year-olds, and that all his friends have grown up.
Marzil A group of children are reading in the library of the magical wonderland of Marzil when a friendly giant arrives who wants to join in… but can’t fit through the door.
Chicken Nugget the Shark Chicken Nugget, a young shark who would rather eat stinky shoes than fish, ventures out of the ocean to visit a shoe store.


See you on the Red Carpet!

Jenny Bruce
Director of Communications