'Vuela, Vuela' @ 6th Our City Film Festival

Meridian Hill Pictures' short film Vuela, Vuela Mariposa will be screened at the 2013 Our City Film Festival. The film, made through a Meridian Hill Pictures media education program in partnership with the Mundo Verde Public Charter School, has been awarded 'Best Short Student Documentary' at the festival and will screen at 5pm on March 10 during the 'Our Heart' screening block. This is the third year that Meridian Hill Pictures’ films have been honored in the festival.

The Our City Film Festival is a local D.C. film festival that showcases local documentaries and stories celebrating the people from 'our city.' Yachad, a D.C. non-profit organization, focused in developing affordable housing and community progress, has organized the film festival for the sixth year in a row. Our City Film Festival is an outreach effort of Yachad, encouraging filmmakers to create films that bring our communities together and celebrate the rich cultures, stories, and scenes that make up Washington, D.C. This year, the films will be screened all day on Sunday, March 10th in four thematic blocks: Our Body, Our Mind, Our Heart and Our Soul.

During the spring of 2012, Meridian Hill Pictures facilitated a media education project with kindergarteners at the Mundo Verde bilingual public charter school in Northwest Washington DC. Meridian Hill Pictures teaching artists worked with classroom teacher Berenice Pernalete and the students to create Vuela, Vuela Mariposa, a short film about the habitat, lifecycle and migration of monarch butterflies. With a teaching program based off the expeditionary learning educational philosophy, Mundo Verde students spend three months each semester in an in-depth exploration of a given subject area. MHP Teaching Artists worked with Berenice and the Expeditionary Learning School Designer to customize a curriculum for their final product in which creating a film was the culmination of a semester-long expedition all about monarch butterflies.

To create the film, students wrote the dialogue, designed and built the sets, costumes and props, and acted. In keeping with the linguistic mission of the school, the film is fully bilingual, with Spanish dialogue and English subtitles. As part of the media education project, the students were presented with information about the monarch butterflies' loss of habitat in DC and Michoacán, Mexico.  In discussing how the students can work together to address this loss of habitat, the students decided to create the film as a powerful tool to help raise awareness in preserving monarch butterfly habitats and confronting deforestation.

The Our City Film Festival will screen films covering a variety of topics, from the DC jazz scene, to the passion of a widowed artist fighting for healthcare rights through the production of a mural in upper Northwest DC. Tickets for each thematic block are sold online individually for $12. Access to the Meet & Greet with the Filmmakers includes dinner and drinks and is $35. An all-access, VIP Pass can be purchased for $150 and includes special access and complimentary drinks throughout the weekend.

Full schedule can be viewed and tickets purchased at: www.ourcityfilmfestival.com.

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