Announcing the White House Student Film Festival

A film made by three students from High Tech High in Chula Vista will be among 16 shown at the White House Friday at the inaugural White House Student Film Festival.

Gabriel Garcia, Tirsa Mercado and Rachel Walden submitted “Beyond the Crossfire,” a short film about a larger documentary produced by more than 45 fellow students designed to elevate youth voices in the discussion about how to prevent and reduce violence and make schools, homes and neighborhoods safer, according to the White House.

White House Student Film Festival. Image from

The festival is a competition for students from kindergarten through 12th grade to create short films on how technology is used in their classrooms, the roles technology will play in education in the future and to support learning in such fields as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

More than 2,000 videos were submitted and 16 were selected for the festival. They will be screened in four groups — “Young Visionaries,” “Future Innovators,” “World of Tomorrow” and “Building Bridges.”

The film from the Chula Vista students is in the “Young Visionaries” group.

They will be presented by actor Kal Penn; Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium and host of the upcoming Fox Broadcasting series, “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey;” television personality Bill Nye — “The Science Guy”; and American Film Institute President and CEO Bob Gazzale.

The event is intended to showcase the power of technology to boost learning and the Obama administration’s commitment to connect 99 percent of students to next-generation broadband and wireless technology within five years, according to the White House.

In connection with the festival, President Barack Obama will announce that Adobe will make available more than $300 million of free software to teachers and students, including Photoshop, and Prezi, a software tool for creating memorable presentations, will provide $100 million in Edu Pro licenses for high schools and educators throughout the nation.

—City News Service