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Pittsburgh's Up-and-Coming Filmmakers Honored at Fifth Annual High School Environmental Film Festival

Submitted by: Bayer

Categories: Environment, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Apr 23, 2009 – 08:00 PM EST


Bayer Corporation, Carnegie Science Center's Regional SciTech Initiative and Pittsburgh Filmmakers Mark Anniversary with Special Guest and "Partners Choice" Awards

Apr. 23 /CSRwire/ - Pittsburgh, PA - April 23, 2009 - "Thoughts: The Environment and Me," a film by Brashear High School senior Christopher Boehm was awarded with the top honor - the Grand Prize - in tonight's fifth annual C.A.U.S.E. Challenge(TM) High School Film Festival, presented by Bayer Corporation, Carnegie Science Center's Regional SciTech Initiative and Pittsburgh Filmmakers. C.A.U.S.E. stands for Creating Awareness and Understanding of our Surrounding Environment.

Other winners announced during the festival's award ceremony, held at the Carnegie Science Center’s Science Stage and emceed by astronaut, physician and environmental studies professor, Dr. Mae C. Jemison, hailed from Hampton, Moon Area, Mount Lebanon and Quaker Valley High Schools.

As Grand Prize winner, Boehm received a $1,000 cash prize. In addition, he went home with a digital video camera and case, a Pittsburgh Filmmakers' class voucher, a director's chair, Carnegie Science Center passes and Three Rivers Film Festival tickets. And Brashear High School took home $1,500 to support its science and media programs, as well as a trophy for its award display case.

The four additional student-filmmaking awards presented included:

  • Narrative Award: "License to Conserve" by Hampton High School seniors Ben Kepner, Sarah Miller and Bryan Seelnacht and freshman Nancy Kepner

  • Documentary Award: "Voices of Our Future" by Quaker Valley High School senior Jessica Johnson

  • Communicating Science Award: "A Global Mission" by Moon Area High School junior David Korotky

  • Abstract Award: "Is It Worth It?" by Mount Lebanon High School seniors Julie Nascone, Alex Trivilino and Matt Ulrich
Each of these awards carry a $300 cash prize (shared if team), director's chair, Carnegie Science Center passes and Three Rivers Film Festival tickets. In addition, each prize-winning school receives a trophy and a $1,500 check.

"The creativity of approach and presentation of the day's important environmental issues as demonstrated in these remarkable films by Pittsburgh's young people have been inspiring," said Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the nation's first African-American female astronaut and Bayer's longtime Making Science Make Sense(R) spokesperson. "Congratulations to the three partners for their strong commitment and for having the vision five years ago to conceive and create such a wonderful, hands-on, minds-on, hearts-on environmental education opportunity for the region's students."

Three Partners Choice Awards Presented
In honor of the fifth anniversary, Bayer Corporation, Carnegie Science Center's Regional SciTech Initiative and Pittsburgh Filmmakers recognized individuals and organizations with three special "Partners Choice" Awards for their continued support of and/or participation in the competition since its inception. They include:

  • Dr. Robert Rosen, media teacher, Mount Lebanon High School for his unwavering support of and dedication to the C.A.U.S.E. Challenge Film Festival.

  • Pittsburgh's High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and its digital media instructor Dennis Childers in recognition of the school's excellence in filmmaking which has consistently raised the bar of the C.A.U.S.E. Challenge Film Festival.

  • The Students of Chartiers Valley High School in recognition of their independent spirit and dedication to filmmaking which has garnered them top prizes at the C.A.U.S.E. Challenge Film Festival.
"We are proud to be celebrating with our partners the fifth annual C.A.U.S.E. Challenge Film Festival," said Valerie Patrick, Ph.D., Bayer's Sustainability Coordinator. "This environmental education project is at the center of one of Bayer's key sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals – helping to educate the next generation of environmental stewards and allowing them to artistically spotlight their environmental concerns and solutions."

"This competition allows students to explore science and technology through a unique arts-oriented experience. It complements the energy and mission of Carnegie Science Center’s Regional SciTech Initiative - to promote understanding and awareness of wide-ranging opportunities in these fields," said Linda Ortenzo, Director of the Initiative. "SciTech provides diverse experiences where people of all ages and interests can explore the impact of cutting edge science and high technology in their everyday lives."

"The art of the moving image dominates our cultural language, and this generation has been raised with literacy in it," said Andrew Swensen, Director, Pittsburgh Filmmakers. "It is a wonderful thing to see these student artists apply that power of imagination and communication to the environmental issues facing our society, both locally and globally."

About the C.A.U.S.E. Challenge(TM) High School Film Festival
The C.A.U.S.E. Challenge Film Festival invites high school students - either individually or in teams of up to four - to write, produce and edit a video or film (five-minute maximum length) on the theme "Mutual Impact: The Environment and You." The C.A.U.S.E. Challenge provides a platform for high school students who are not necessarily on a science track to become more scientifically and environmentally aware using the non-traditional, yet powerful tool of film or video. The filmmaking process also helps students develop their creative voice, master basic skills - such as researching, reading, writing and speaking - and build important science literacy skills like critical thinking, problem solving and team working.

Films were judged by an independent panel consisting of Kenneth T. Bowman, Regional Director, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Steve Seliy, an independent filmmaker and Associate Executive Director of the Consortium for Public Education; Lindsey Baxter, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Pittsburgh and Ben Hernstrom, an independent filmmaker and owner of Ambulantic Video Works.

They based their judging on a variety of criteria, including 1) the film's message, 2) ability to deliver the message, 3) connection to the Pittsburgh region, 4) use of available technology, 5) creativity and 6) research.

About Bayer Corporation and Making Science Make Sense(R)
The C.A.U.S.E. Challenge(TM) High School Film Festival is one component of Bayer's award-winning, company-wide Making Science Make Sense (MSMS) program which advances science literacy through hands-on, inquiry-based science learning, employee volunteerism and public education. Currently, 12 Bayer sites around the country operate local Making Science Make Sense programs, which together represent a national volunteer corps of more than 1,000 employees.

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and high-tech materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2008 net sales of approximately 8 billion euros (about $12 billion) and employed 17,000 at year end. Bayer's three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people's lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability. For more information, go to www.bayerus.com.

About Carnegie Science Center's Regional SciTech Initiative
Carnegie Science Center's Regional SciTech Initiative conducts programs and events for all ages that promote interest in and awareness of regional science and technology development and career opportunities, as well as a knowledgeable, inspired public. Programs showcase Pittsburgh as an international hub of scientific and technological advancements in the region’s growth industries: robotics, information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, environmental technology and advanced materials processes; as well as connections between these fields and the arts/literature, current events and science in the news.

The diverse programs connect visitors with leading scientists and technologists in a fun, dynamic atmosphere. Students and teachers (middle and high school) families, college students and adults engage in interactive exhibit booths by corporations, universities, and community organizations, as well as provocative panel discussions, science demos and exciting arts performances.

About Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Pittsburgh Filmmakers is a regional community resource and one of the oldest and largest media art centers in the country. It is committed to the artist and the understanding and advancement of artistic excellence in film, video, photographic and digital expression. It accomplishes this through programs in exhibition, artist membership services, and education

Pittsburgh Filmmakers' School of Film, Photography and Digital Media offers one of the most complete professional training programs in the country. Classes are offered in film, video, photography and digital arts and are open to the public and can be taken for college credit. Pittsburgh Filmmakers is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

For more information, please call the C.A.U.S.E. Challenge Hotline at 412-777-5791 or visit www.SciTechSpec.org.

For more information, please contact:

Bryan Iams Bayer Corporation
Phone: (412) 777-5200

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