So, you want to raise some money for your school while educating and inspiring along the way. Sorry, it’s impossible. It simply can’t be done. There is no conceivable way on this pitiful terrestrial plane to challenge students creatively while rolling some coin into the treasury. 


Except this way…hold a film festival at your high school. Tuesday, we talked about holding your own awards ceremony. If you really want to have your own Oscars you’re going to need films, and that’s where the kids come in. 


Challenge your students to create short films and enter them into the contest. They would have to be 100% original pieces free of copyright of course. Gone are the days when creativity was limited by equipment. Kids today carry around high definition cameras with microphones in their pockets. Most of them would have access to computers or tablets with basic editing software through free apps. 


All it would take on the part of the students is patience, cooperation with their classmates, and imagination to make a short film. If there are a few traits you would like your students to exit school with, those are certainly on the short list. 


Set up a projector in a gymnasium or multipurpose room. You can charge a small fee to enter like you would for a basketball game. You can also sell concessions like a sporting event. Meanwhile, why not have t-shirts available not only of your school, but for the festival itself and maybe even the films in it? You could make your festival shirt a mashup of the posters for each film, or have a list of entrants on the back of the t-shirt with the year. 


After the films have all screened, have a panel of teachers, administrators, students, and members of the community vote on favorites and awards in multiple categories, like best picture, best screenplay, best special effects, best actor/actress, etc. You can also add school appropriate categories like best teamwork. Then have the student filmmakers accept their awards and practice public speaking. 


While you’re ordering festival custom t-shirts, order some award t-shirts for the winners, or just give each kid that enters a movie their own t-shirt to commemorate the moment they decided to put their vision out there. It’s not an easy thing for someone of any age to put their artistic vision on display, and that goes double for youth. They deserve a pat on the back for taking that step, taking  risk, and trying something new.


If a film festival isn't your ideal fundraiser idea, check out guides for more inspiration. 

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