International Student Film Festival

Come join our project!

Telling Our Stories Through Film
SAIS’s culminating upper grades Humanities project for the 2020 spring semester is open to students from around the world. Students will explore different ways of storytelling through writing and film.  Students will read and view examples of narratives in text and film as a part of learning and refining their own ability to write stories and create films that tell stories. The first part of the project will be focused on creating a compelling written narrative that students then translate into a compelling short film. The final part of the project will focus on using film to tell a story that moves people and inspires them towards social action or change in some way. Within the parameters of learning to tell a good story, using narrative as an influencing tool, and creating a quality piece of writing and two films, students will have broad leeway in terms of content and what type of film they would like to create.

Students from schools other than SAIS are welcome to participate in all aspect of the project, although interaction with SAIS students will begin with the final storyboards and films. Final submissions for the International Student Film Festival are due by 11:59 PM on June 3rd Pacific Standard Time (3pm on June 4th in China.) Films must be no longer than 8 minutes. Submissions must be through links sent to and must include name, age, grade, and contact information of the student and parent/guardian or teacher.

Essential Questions:

  • How can we tell compelling stories through writing and film?
  • What role can stories play in moving and influencing people?

Learning Targets

  • I can write a compelling short story that uses imagery and uses conventions of effective storytelling.
  • I can give and receive feedback to improve my own writing and work and the writing and work of others.
  • I can create short films using a variety of technical tools.
  • I can research and identify an issue that I care about.
  • I can create a storyboard.
  • I can create a film that moves people.


  • No longer than 8 minutes
  • Tells a story (has elements of a narrative)
  • Any type of film allowed: animated, documentary, fiction, drama, stop-motion, live action, etc.
  • Created using any type of software
  • Submitted via email to including a link (not an attachment)
  • Student’s name, contact information, location, and parent/guardian consent included
  • Must be submitted by 11:59 PM PST on June 3rd (2:59 PM on June 4th in China)
  • To engage with SAIS students earlier and give and receive feedback on storyboards, please send an email to


 This list includes possible materials but the number of examples of powerful narratives is endless. For this project and our literacy standards at SAIS, we would like students to read at least one full-length book and at least three short stories.


 Daughter of Fortune, by Isabel Allende

Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Amulet series, by Kazu Kibuishi

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass

Pay It Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde

 Short narratives:

The Gift of the Magi, O’Henry


Like the written texts, this list includes a short selection of an endless amount of possible options.


Pay It Forward

An Inconvenient Truth

 Short Films:

Mrs. Chong (Singapore teaching advertisement)

The Meatrix

Best Shorts:



This Little Girl’s Dad Lies to her Everyday

Other Resources

 Michele Barnwell on telling your story


The danger of a single story: Chimamanda Adichie TED talk