What an amazing experience this has been for all of us! The students had 48 hours to write, produce, and edit a film for the competition. It was incredible to watch their planning, their collaboration, and their work ethic. They are truly remarkable humans and we are so fortunate to get to work with them every day.

Yesterday, the films were shown at a theater near Paris. There were 8 categories of awards and only 3 nominees were selected for each of the categories. Out of 13 teams from all over the world, Woodrow’s blue team was nominated in 5 of the 8 categories. We missed winning the Best Film award by only 2 points. This was a phenomenal showing by our students and we couldn’t be prouder of them and of their talented and dedicated teacher, Michelle Briggs. We’re already looking towards 2021 to take another group back to compete!

Please congratulate these students for their nominations in the following categories:

Best Film: WWHS Blue (Gus Arenas, Annabelle Toe, Ashton Bryson, Lugardo Marroquin, Quincy Farris)

Best Directing: Gus Arenas

Best Cinematography: Annabelle Toe

Best Sound Design: Lugardo Marroquin

Best Actress: Sara-Ann Sullivan (from the American School of Paris. The students from ASP’s theater program served as actors in the films and the young lady assigned to our blue team’s film was nominated for and won the category of Best Actor.)

Woodrow Wilson High School International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is at American School of Paris.

January 15 at 3:07 PM · Saint-Cloud, France · 

In September, our IB Film teacher, Michelle Briggs, came to me with an idea to attend an international student film competition in Paris. I laughed and said that sounded very fun and very expensive. She told me she thought we could do it. Ms. Briggs worked tirelessly for four months to make this trip a reality for our students. She persevered behind the scenes to secure almost $18,000 in donations so that 2 teams of students could travel to compete. So, today, here we are in Paris, France, competing with some of the best IB Film programs in the world. This unforgettable opportunity is the result of the passion, energy, and vision of one teacher. THIS is Woodrow IB—a group of dedicated professionals who are changing lives every day.

Dr. Kelly Ritchie, Woodrow IB Coordinator

Lakewood/East Dallas Logo  October 11, 2019

Help the Woodrow film class compete in elite Paris contest

Woodrow’s International Baccalaureate film class. (Photo courtesy of Gus Arenas.)

For centuries, Paris has been a moveable feast for unknown writers and filmmakers hoping to make a name for themselves in the artistic world. In January, International Baccalaureate students at Woodrow Wilson will have the chance to cut their teeth in a global film competition.

Ten students from the IB film class will compete against schools from China, Brazil, France and Qatar in a three-day competition called Clash of the Titans. Students will attend workshops to improve their skills. Then they will be challenged to create a film in 48 hours. Judges will evaluate the films and select a winner.


“We have the ability to compete and be as successful as the other IB programs, but our class is just focusing on the experience and the opportunity to go to Paris,” senior film student Gus Arenas said. “It will be amazing to interact with students from around the world.”

With little funding from the school, the class needs help from the community to attend.

The competition director was hesitant to admit Woodrow, but film instructor Michelle Briggs submitted student work and convinced him that her students would work diligently to prove themselves.

(Photo courtesy of Gus Arenas.)

“I know we might not be the most qualified there, but we will for sure be the most motivated and enthusiastic,” Briggs said. “We just need the funding so they can have the opportunity. For a lot of these students, this will be their first time to experience anything like this cultural exchange.”

Although there are about 30 people in the class, only 10 will get to go to Paris, Arenas said. Students must complete an application that includes an 800-word essay, teacher recommendations and an optional short film.

The class needs $8,000 by Nov. 1 to pay for deposits and flights. The rest can be submitted before December.

As of 9:30 a.m. Friday, October 11, 17 people had contributed about $1,000 toward the $15,000 goal. Donations can be made here.


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