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Peoria students spend summer capturing stories of community through lens of a camera

PEORIA, Ill. - Summer break is all about catching up on z's for high schoolers, right?

One group of Peoria Public School students are choosing to spend summer break a little differently, by capturing the stories of their community through the lens of a camera.

Bright and early these filmmaking students are getting a lesson on lighting.

"I was so blessed to learn every single tool I could because, you know, I want my future to look bright." Richwoods High School Sophomore, Nadia Edwards, says.

Artist and filmmaker, Allison Walsh, is directing this summer filmmaking class.

"One thing I was thinking about is how do we get more kids to be able to make films themselves so they can really tell their perspective and share truths I may not know." Walsh explains.

From documentaries to narrative stories, the students are delving into very real issues, capturing all of it with a camera.

"Our group made an LGBT love story." Richwoods High School Junior, Matthew Paul, explains.

"That's what a lot of people face, so we wanted to bring that to life in a film." Edwards says.

"The more people that can story tell and make films, I think we'll better understand Peoria and express something that's really unique about this city." Walsh says.

All of the films are shot on iPhones so students can continue using the skills they're learning once class is over.

"I would definitely consider this as a career." Paul explains.

It's not only about learning to write screenplays and fine tune the lighting, it's about giving Peoria students an outlet to express themselves and providing an opportunity for future success.

"You know in Peoria there's not a lot of opportunities so when I saw that there was an opportunity to be part of this I took it because, being in Peoria, you gotta take any chance you can get." Edwards says.

Next the student films are headed to the big screen, all of them entered into the Big Picture Film Festival.

"It's just a dream becoming reality because I've been thinking about doing this for a long time and it's actually coming true." Edwards says.

The films will go up against others at the festival on October 13, 2018 held at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

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