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New Mexico Project Turns Students Into Filmmakers

Kevin Meerschaert
Members of the Legislative Indian Affairs Committee watch the student film "The Sound of Drums."

Organizers of Film Prize Jr. New Mexico are hoping for more financial support from the State so they can expand the program to more middle and high school students.

It’s a statewide youth film education program and competition that provides resources and guidance to help students tell their own stories. 

  Last year it supported over 500 students from 16 counties who produced over 60 films that were screened at their festival in April.

Awards were presented for the best films produced.

Film Prize Junior Director Rosey Hayett says it’s a great way for students to express themselves while representing their culture.

“We’ve heard so much from our native film mentors how historically the tribal land in New Mexico has been the setting for other people’s stories,” he said. “Our stories in New Mexico have been told by others, so this project is very powerful and important because we are supporting young New Mexicans to tell their own stories.”      

Hayett and some of the young filmmakers presented their works recently to the New Mexico Legislative Indian Affairs Committee.

Lawmakers praised the students for their achievements.

Three of the films that won awards were submitted by Native American students.

Of the students who participated in last year’s program, 68-percent were from rural communities.

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.