More than 800 local high school students enjoyed a sampling of what the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is like at the recent Student Screening Day held during the 29th Annual PSIFF. About 650 of the attendees to the screening held at the Richards Center for the Arts came from PSUSD high schools with the remainder of the students coming from Palm Desert, Coachella Valley, Horizon/Summit and Palm Valley High Schools.

High School Students Get Film Festival Sampling

Will Lautzenheiser

Students enjoyed the day screening two films. The morning film was the 72-minute documentary Stumped, which looks at filmmaker Will Lautzenehiser’s journey though the amputation of his limbs and experimental double-arm transplant. Lautzeneiser and director Robin Berghuas held a Question and Answer session with the students following the screening before everyone took a break for lunch from Aspen Mills.

High School Students Get Film Festival Sampling

Lunches from Aspen Mills

Ayla, The Daughter of War, the afternoon selection, explores family, sacrifice and love through the heartwarming story of a young Turkish soldier who takes in a stranded five-year-old discovered on the battlefields of the Korean War. Following the screening, Director Can Ulkay, Producer Mustafa Uslu and cast members including Kim Seoul, led a Q&A with the students before they boarded their buses back to their campuses.

PSIFF and Palm Springs Unified School District has partnered to provide the Student Screening Day since 2007.

“Student Screening Day is both entertaining and educational,” said PSUSD Arts Coordinator Louisa Castrodale. “Like an incredible painting, a soul-stirring piece of music, or a gorgeous piece of choreography, masterful films are text, just as much as a book or article a student might read in class.”

For the first time this year, the Student Screening Day was expanded to a second day at a second site in the east valley, giving an additional 500 mid and east valley students the opportunity to see a couple of the films being shown at the PSIFF and having the opportunity to meet the associated filmmakers.