A student film shot on location in Dawson County has received international acclaim.
"Scarlett's Secret," a film project by four Riverview Middle School students, was named Best of Festival and Judges' Favorite in the 2011 International Student Media Festival.
Heather Brady, Tabitha Morrison, Emily Queen and Savannah Skinner were seventh-graders in Marcia Faircloth's honors language arts class last year when they produced the award-winning short movie.
"We were very excited," Faircloth said. "Anybody in the world now can go online and watch the film."
The storyline follows the discovery of a diary written by Scarlett May Booth, the fictional niece of John Wilkes Booth, who shared her thoughts regarding her uncle's role in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
The months' long project encouraged an integration of technology with researching, reading, writing and speaking skills.
"The project was multi-layered when it comes to standards, because it encompasses so many different aspects of learning," said Faircloth, who encouraged the teens to produce the film in anticipation of entering the film festival.
While Brady and Morrison developed the idea, Skinner and Queen researched the topic and collected photos that could be used in production.
Technology available at the school allowed the young filmmakers to add a special effect in editing to indicate when the story had transitioned from present to past.
"We filmed a portion of the movie, used pictures for going back in time and did voice overs to show her reading the diary as we showed pictures," Skinner said.
The ability to film on location in a farm built in the 1800s created an additional time component.
Results from the state festival revealed in May listed the team with a score of 99, three points higher than the required 96 to enter the international contest.
"In the notes, we could read the judges' comments of what they really liked and what needed to be tweaked," Faircloth said. "So they went in and they tweaked it just a little bit and we sent it to Anaheim, Calif., for the International Student Media Festival."
They received the international results a few weeks ago.
"I was really proud," said Brady, who added she plans to continue using the technology she learned during the project as she moved on in school.
Faircloth said that, too, is her intention.
"I hope that they'll take what they have learned with me the last few years, use that knowledge, integrate it and continue it on into high school and college, and hopefully, teachers will let them have access to those kind of tools," she said.