Niskayuna HS student animator Chris Perrella selected for DROP TV

Still from Chris Perrella's Checkers
Still from Chris Perrella's Checkers


Niskayuna High School student animator selected to be part of international television program.

One of Niskayuna High School’s outstanding student computer animators, Chris Perrella, has had two of his short films selected to be showcased on Season 5 of the Poughkeepsie based program – DROP TV.

DROP TV is a magazine-style series of half hour episodes packed with high energy segments made for youth, by youth.  The series is produced in conjunction with the Children’s Media Project’s Media Guild program. Continue reading Niskayuna HS student animator Chris Perrella selected for DROP TV

Reel Teens Festival Announces 2009 Winners

The 9th annual Reel Teens Festival was held October 9 – 11, in Upstate New York. A panel of entertainment industry judges awarded prizes to the best entries in 1 categories with a special Jurors Award presented as well. In addition, at each screening the audience voted for their favorite and an Audience Award was presented. 493 entries were received from across the United States and around the world, with 68 finalists screened over the 3 days. Each winner received $100, a ‘Felix’ statuette, and a Certificate of Achievement. The winners are:

Best Fiction – Better Days – Corinne Bradley, Raw Art Works, Lynn, MA

Best Short Fiction – Dan and the Red Sea – Max Collins, Guilderland HS, Guilderland, NY

Best Documentary – In a Place Like This – Mobile Film School, Austin, TX

Best Short Documentary – Game Addiction – Crysta Machado, Jasmine Velez,
Academy for Careers in Television and Film, New York, NY

Best Video Diary – My Story – Tianny Marmolejos, Clinton Williams,
Raw Art Works, Lynn, MA

Best News Magazine – Sleepy Hollow Digital News – Sleepy Hollow High School,
Tarrytown, NY

Best News Magazine – Hearsay! – Calling the Shots, Bristol, England

Best Animation – Dog and Flea – SAF, Cakovec, Croatia

Best Animation – Bellies – Cameron Locks, Episcopal HS, Bellaire, TX

Best Stop-Motion Animation – By My Side – Samuel Ekren, Perpich Center for Arts
Education, Golden Valley, MN

Best Visual Arts – Start Motion – Nick Ljubicich, Byram Hills HS, Armonk, NY

Best Music Video – Freshman Love – Hayden Goldman, Episcopal High School,
Bellaire, TX

Best PSA – Never Again – Jessica Lee, Harvard Westlake School, N. Hollywood, CA

Best PSA – The Line – Coralee Trigger, Westlake HS, Austin, TX

Long PSA – Where I Come From – Tasana Hardy, Community TV Network, Chicago, IL

The Judges Award – Our Boat Is Our Address – Shiropa Puma, Dhaka, Bangladesh

The Audience Awards:

Dan and the Red Sea – Max Collins, Guilderland High School, Guilderland Center, NY
Four Red Shoes – Melissa Wilpers, Emma Willard School, Troy, NY
The Butter Battle Book – Juliana Barbera, The Masters School, Dobbs Ferry, NY
An Easy Day – John Robb, Alex Wilson, New Paltz High School, New Paltz, NY

The tenth annual Reel Teens Festival will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Columbus Day Weekend October 8 -10, 2010. Applications for submission to the 2010 Reel Teens Festival can be found on our web site

Deadline for submission is June 30, 2010
For more information e-mail
or call 845-246-1598.

Short Cuts 8: A Video Celebration

Short Cuts 8
Short Cuts 8

Niskayuna High School’s annual student film festival returns to the G.E. Theater at Proctors in Downtown Schenectady.

The Niskayuna High School Art Department presents SHORT CUTS 8: a video celebration showcasing outstanding student productions from the 2008-2009 school year on WEDNESDAY JUNE 3rd at 7 PM at the G.E. Theater at Proctors.

Over 25 short films from students in Mr. Honicki’s Studio in Video program will be screened as part of this 8th annual event – including award-winning entries from the Reel Teens USA Festival. Rod Serling Film Festival, Capital Region Media Arts Festival, and Westport Youth Film Festival.

This year’s festival features the award-winning short film, Talk to the Hand, created by Christopher Murphy using stiff frame animation.  Murphy’s comedy short just received the prestigious “Best in Show” award at this year’s Rod Serling Video Festival. The film also received accolades for “Best Editing” and an “Honorable Mention” in the Narrative Comedy category at this year’s Capital Region Media Arts Festival.  Talk to the Hand tells the story of two friends and their unusual encounter with a new kid at school.

Also included in this year’s line-up is the follow-up to the one of the most highly acclaimed films of last year – Tom Lamanna’s Breakfast.  Directed and produced by Electrical Banana Productions (James Belcastro and Matthew Cioffi), Roberry tells the story of a pie maker who resorts to stealing ingredients from his neighbor’s home in order make his tasty treat.  This film was awarded “Best Animation” at this year’s Westport Youth Film Festival.

Another highlight of this year’s festival is the short, An Orange In The Orchard.  When a young man’s in-class drawing is discovered by his teacher, he is forced to face the repetitive and dehumanizing nature of the environment.  Directed and written by senior Daniel Claridge, An Orange In The Orchard reminds us of the importance of individuality.

In addition to the film viewing, the event will also include the SHORTY AWARDS – recognizing outstanding achievement in student short films by the students themselves.

SHORT CUTS 8 is FREE and open to the public.  The G.E. Theater at Proctor’s is located at 432 State Street in Schenectady, NY.

This event is made possible by the Niskayuna High School PTO, Time Warner Cable’s “How Cool Is Your School” video competition and the generosity of Proctor’s Theater.


NYSSSA needs your help!

NYSSSA needs your help! The State Division of the Budget has informed the program office that it must immediately begin retrenchment for next summer’s program, with a 50% reduction in funding. This means that at least four of the eight schools will have to be closed. Since auditions have already been held and students selected and notified, this will be devastating news for many of our most promising young artists. The State Legislature and the Office of the Governor have supported NYSSSA for 39 years because they have heard from thousands of parents, students and arts supporters.

If you would like to help restore the NYSSSA schools, please tell our leaders. A sample letter for leaders in the State Legislators and the Office of the Governor is included below, as well as a link to find your local legislators.

Dear :

I am writing to ask you to help restore full funding authority for the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA).  For 39 years NYSSSA has served students from every area of the State who represent New York’s economic, cultural and racial diversity, identifying tomorrow’s leaders in the arts and providing them with intensive pre-professional training and career development opportunities.  Over 19,000 students have participated in this legislative initiative. The program’s success has been demonstrated by former students’ achievements with top professional companies all over the world and individual testimonials documented in yearly alumni surveys.

The State Division of Budget has advised the NYSSSA office that funding has been reduced by 50% and that the program office must begin planning immediately for retrenchment for the coming year. This means that the NYSSSA will have to close at least 4 of the 8 schools this coming summer. The NYSSSA program office has requested approval of a spending plan of $1,745,000 – representing a 0% increase from the 2008-09 plan. In the past 39 years, there have been very few increases in funding from the State. The cost of operating the eight NYSSSA schools is shared by State revenue funding and student tuition. The unique partnership between the State, New York’s most prominent artists, artistic companies and cultural institutions, and parents has kept program costs to a minimum. NYSSSA continues to ensure that the programs are still accessible to all New York State students, as per the original legislative intent.

I urge you to restore funding authority to NYSSSA to ensure the operation of all eight schools. The program’s funding needs are modest compared to other State initiatives and the return on our tax dollar is great, developing tomorrow’s leaders in the arts and entertainment industry.


New York State Legislative Leaders:
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith
Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari   CanestR@
Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver
Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos
Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco
Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair — Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
Senate Finance Chair Carl Kruger
Assembly Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan NolanC@
Senate Education Committee Chair Suzi Oppenheimer

Search for your area legislators

Governor Paterson:

2009 WNY MATA Show schedule

The 2009 WNY MATA show schedule has been posted. The event will take place Feb. 27, 2009, in the Center for the Arts on the University at Buffalo Amherst Campus. Students and their teachers are invited to exhibit their still images, video and animation; attend workshops on Apple iLife 09, Adobe Flash, digital iron-on transfer and scannergrams; and tour the Departments of Media Study and Visual Studies. If you are in the WNY region and are interested in attending, please contact Liz Randell.

40 Years of Media Arts Education, conference postponed

I regret to report that we have decided to indefinitely postpone our conference, 40 Years of Media Arts Education in New York State. We have been unable to reach the required minimum number of attendees. Our MATA regions have reported that the cost and timing have made it impossible for many to attend during this difficult economic period.

We will continue to work within each of our regions to promote vibrant media arts education programs, and to provide support and training opportunities for media arts teachers. Please keep visiting this site, or subscribe to our RSS feed, to keep up-to-date on new developments.

Your contributions to this ongoing online dialog are welcome. Feel free to provide a 5 minute QuickTime video of yourself describing your program and offering your thoughts on the state of media arts education. MATA members are also invited to showcase their students’ still and video work on this site. Contact Margaret Mealia for details.

How can MATA help you?

One of the visions at the start of planning the conference, 40 Years of Media Arts Education in New York State, was to bring together media arts teachers from across the state, to discuss not only our rich history over the past 4 decades, but also the future of media arts education. We now take this opportunity to rethink the role of the Media Arts Teachers Association in providing value to teachers struggling with the challenges of emerging technologies, budget cuts, and curricular constraints.

Please post your thoughts and comments here. How can the New York State Media Arts Teachers Association help you? What issues are you most concerned with as a media arts teacher?

We look forward to hearing from you.

EMTA Conference presentation

Peter Mahan, a high school art teacher from Hannibal Central Schools and a brand new member of MATA, would like to invite interested members of MATA to a presentation he is giving at the 2008 New York Educational Media teachers (NYSEMTA) Fall Conference related to work he has done with media literacy and video production. The lecture is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 24th at the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown, New York. The presentation will consist of two selections of high school student work his classes produced during the 2007 school year and a brief talk on his unique approach to media literacy as it applies to film. If you are interested in more information you can contact him at