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Edison Tech Students Win Philip Seymour Hoffman Award at Rochester Teen Film Festival

(August 5, 2022) The Rochester City School District would like to congratulate students from Edison Career and Technology High School for winning the Philip Seymour Hoffman Award at this year’s Rochester Teen Film Festival. 

Their film, The Unattainable Dream, was one of 10 finalists for consideration at the film festival on Thursday, August 4 at the Little Theatre.  This film was selected from many entries around the United States. 

The Philip Seymour Hoffman Award, presented by Hoffman’s mother Marilyn O’Connor, honors the life and legacy of the late Academy Award-winning actor and Fairport native.  The annual award is given to the teen whose film is chosen by judges as “Best of Fest”.  The award was established in association with the Hoffman family with funds raised during The Little Theatre’s Philip Seymour Hoffman Tribute Film Series. 

Students from Edison produced a documentary on governmental and societal oppression elements such as redlining, mortgage loans, and the federal housing authority. This was part of a project that aligned the District’s Career and Technology Education (CTE) curriculum to core subjects. 

Students in Participation in Government and Economics, English Language Arts (ELA), and Digital Media Arts and Communications (DMAC) classes worked together on this project. 

In ELA, students read fiction (The Great Gatsby and A Raisin in the Sun) and non-fiction (articles, interviews, and historical documents) to create focused, contextually grounded questions for interviews with local voices. Students in the DMAC pathway produced the interviews and created the documentary in Video and Television Production class. Students in English Language Arts and Participation in Government and Economics classes created the script for the documentary, and classes used Edison's Makerspace to collaborate on various facets of the project. 

To delve into governmental and societal oppression elements, students conducted interviews with local individuals who have expertise in these areas. The interviews were conducted around the City of Rochester and included School Board Commissioner Camille Simmons, Assembly Member Demond Meeks, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, former Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, PathStone Foundation founder Shane Wiegand, and author/journalist Justin Murphy. Murphy recently published a book about educational disparities in Rochester entitled Your Children Are Very Greatly in Danger.