Grade 9 students in F.R. Haythorne Junior High will be showcasing their cinematic works at the school's 19th annual Hawk Film Festival.

On Monday (Apr. 17), attendees will view 17 films created by students together at the Sherwood Park Cineplex. 

“I enjoyed making my film,” says Kaden Craig, a Grade 9 student at F.R. Haythorne Junior High. “I highly recommend the Film Production class for anyone interested in movies."

"I got to work with awesome people, and I'd do it again if I could.”

This year's theme is split screen, an editing technique that is usually used in cinematic scenes for phone calls.

Monty Drozda, a teacher at the school who started the program in 2004, says that this year is their second biggest iteration of the festival.

"I think the most important thing for our program is to be able to teach students to be better patrons and become true cinephiles by recognizing how to watch films again," said Drozda. "They need to be told how to immerse themselves in a film."

The Hawk Film Festival is part of the school's film production course, which offers students the opportunity to create their own films from start to finish, learning about every step in the production process.

Students are also taught about the history of film and how it evolved into a billion-dollar industry.

The festival is already sold out, with most tickets being purchased by friends and families of the students, as well as from Grade 7 students who are interested in the film production course.

"The Grade 7's are trying to get tickets to our festival, and there's a few of them that will come again in Grade 8 and see all the great stuff that happened two years before and apply it to their Grade 9 year," said Drozda. "I think like any good filmmaker, you have to be a good thief."

"Storytelling in film is tough, but these kids aren't trying to do it easily. They try their hardest."