In September 2010, students with a passion for filmmaking at John B. Connally High School (also known as Cougar Productions), accepted a challenge that would push their education far beyond the school walls. They produced a short film for submission into the largest, most prestigious film festival in the world – The Cannes Films Festival in France. This was the first time a high school from Central Texas had started a film project, which garnered world-wide attention. The students worked as director, writers, producers, actors, cinematographers, composers, and publicists on the project. Midian Films, a Round Rock production company, comprised of David Anderson, Michelle Carter and Dana Glover, has premiered films at Cannes for the past seven years, co-produced the project with Connally's Video Technology instructor Humberto Perez. Not only did the students finish the film, it was officially selected to the 2011 Cannes Film Festival - Short Film Corner. The students were given the opportunity to travel to the Cannes Film Festival to experience the final phase of the project and witness first-hand their place in the world film community.
Midian Films pitched the project to Connally High School after their 2009 trip to Cannes in which several films produced by students from other countries were being screened at the festival, but none from the U.S. Upon returning to the United States, they researched the matter further and learned that United States students, especially students in urban settings, often lack opportunities to learn professional film production.
Our pilot program 2010-2011 was deemed to be a success. The film was officially accepted and six students were able to attend the Cannes Films Festival in France. This was done without formal structure and budget. Not only did the students learn the entire filmmaking process, they also saw first-hand and understood the importance of exposure through media. The Pflugerville Independent School District realized the importance of the experience and requested the remaining two Pflugerville High Schools participate in the program over the next two years.
Cinema Du Cannes Project is a visionary project in which youth led production teams collaborate to produce films for submission into film festivals, including 6 films accepted into the Cannes Film Festival Court Métrage, and to perform community outreach by producing videos, public service announcements, and media services to non-profits in need for the past four years.