MAPS to Host 13th Annual Media Arts Festival

MAPS student Omar Perez Carrillo considers the operation of the boom microphone for the next scene while film instructor Dru Carr prepares for the visual recording.

The 13th annual Media Arts Festival is a celebration of the excellent media created by MAPS students on Saturday, May 20, at the Pharaohplex Theatre in Hamilton.

The program is also celebrating “Awards of Excellence” nominations from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, North West.

The family-friendly Media Arts Festival is free, open to the public and the celebration of another successful year of the MAPS After School Program.

MAPS Executive Director Clare Ann Harff said the festival is a showcase event.

“It is empowering for the student directors and editors to present their work on the big screen with a captive audience,” Harff said. “The festival is a professional opportunity for MAPS students to present their creative media productions to their families, friends and the entire community.”

MAPS students learn the media arts skills of graphic design, filmmaking, music production, technology and entrepreneurship but also learn the soft skills that are needed for success in life like how to be dependable, communicate ideas, develop creative skills and practice collaboration. Students gain skills and self-confidence.

MAPS directly served over 130 Ravalli County students in their afterschool programming this school year. Additional students were served through classroom visits and collaborative projects with individual teachers like workshops with Hamilton Middle School Gifted and Talented class. Indirectly, MAPS reaches thousands of students via student projects.

The MAPS program has received many awards for its creative educational programming and productions.

This year MAPS has received five “Awards of Excellence” nominations from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, North West. MAPS is the only program representing Montana in the Pacific Northwest competition this year. The winners of these nominations will be announced in June.

According to Harff five nominations is an impressive accomplishment.

“These honors are the equivalent of student EMMY awards,” Harff said. “What make these accolades somewhat extraordinary is that MAPS students are competing with young filmmakers from much larger and better funded states like Oregon, Washington and Alaska.”

MAPS film instructor Dru Carr said he is proud of the students for receiving the nominations.

“Our priority goals are for the students are to tap into their creative potentials, learn how to work with others, problem-solve and, most of all, to have fun,” Carr said. “Our secondary goal is to make excellent media art. These nominations tell us we’re all doing our jobs and making films with artistic and social value. That’s incredibly rewarding for students and our entire organization.”

The nominated productions are a documentary about the St. Mary’s Mission and the 175th Founders Day Anniversary (by Lucas Laparra and Josephine Lang), a music video called “Everybody needs Love” (by Lucas Laparra and Galen Brush) and three public service announcements – MAPS Recruitment Film (by Whitney Wyche and Nick West), Hamilton Farmers Market (by Lucas Laparra) and MAPS Recruitment Photo Montage (by Sebastian Johnson).

The MAPS Media Institute faced hardship this year when Peter Rosten, who founded the program in 2004, passed away mid-April.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock posthumously awarded Rosten the 2017 Montana Ambassador Outreach Ambassador of the Year Award. Montana Ambassadors are leaders in business, education and government dedicated to living and doing business in Montana and furthering the best interests of the state. Rosten joined the non-profit organization of volunteers two years ago.

“Peter Rosten was always willing to share his talents to make the world around him a better place,” Governor Bullock said. “From fighting childhood hunger to fostering a brighter future for Montana kids by opening doors of imagination and possibility, Peter’s impact on Montana will be felt far into our future.”

Last September, Rosten called MAPS “the most fulfilling professional experience” of his life.

“I had a very good career for 35 years in Hollywood,” he said. “It does not come close to what MAPS delivers every day in personal satisfaction.”

The MAPS program continues strong under the leadership of Harff.

As the afterschool programming comes to a conclusion this week the program staff is gearing up for the four-week summer program that runs July 10 – August 4. For more information about the summer program call 406-381-7230 or visit

Help celebrate and further media arts learning by attending the Media Festival this Saturday at the Pharaohplex Theatre, 582 Old Corvallis Rd, Corvallis. The doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the films will roll noon to 1 p.m. The event concludes with a pie potluck at the MAPS campus at 515 Madison Street in Hamilton.