Budding ISP filmmakers showcase their short films on a global stage

February 2021 marked the start of the ISP Film Festival – a creative journey that would take 222 aspiring ISP film students through every step of the filmmaking process, from storyboarding to special effects. Thirty-three films from 32 schools made their final cut which were all proudly shown on big screens thrilling audiences in schools across the ISP globe throughout May.


See the wonderfully creative film posters designed by each of the school’s film crews:

Once the screenings were over votes were cast by the viewers, the film students themselves, as well as a judging panel of expert filmmakers and then put together to calculate the anticipated winners. With the votes counted, the long-awaited Awards Ceremony took place in June, the top winning films being announced on the day – reaction cameras truly capturing the shock of amazement on winners’ faces.

All 33 films had the opportunity to be voted on under six categories, and although every film crew is a winner for creating their short film, there could only be six prize-taking winners.


  • Best Picture – Stage 7, Instituto Thomas Jefferson Palomar, Mexico
  • Best Acting Performance – SPIN, Laude The Lady Elizabeth School, Spain
  • Best Original Script – Revolution, Tenby Schools Penang, Malaysia
  • Best Cinematography – Danseur a Mort, Instituto Thomas Jefferson Valle Real, Mexico
  • Best Production Design – Betcha, Claremont School, United Kingdom
  • Best Sound Editing, The Book’s Mystery, Colegio Pedro Valdivia Agustinas & Colegio Pedro Valdivia Las Condes, Chile

Tears of pride were shed during the speeches made by the representative of each winning film crew. Directors, editors, and actors walked down the virtual red carpet to take to the stage to share their excitement, challenges, and achievements. Speakers also gave their sincerest appreciation to families, friends, and Film Festival Coordinators for all the support they’d given throughout their creative journey. We’re sure you’ll agree there were some very touching and moving moments!

The furthering of the capabilities of our talented young filmmakers is key to ISP, so the top six winning film crews were awarded funds to purchase film equipment and resources to be shared with their fellow film-loving school community. Best Picture winners – Stage 7 also won the top prize and were awarded an outstanding filmmaking experience – an online filmmaking course in August with our amazing collaborator Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), the UK’s leading arts specialist university who has been with our film students every step of the way.

Congratulations to Stage 7 from ITJ Palomar – we look forward to hearing more about their incredible experience with AUB in September once they’ve completed the experience.

At the start of the programme, students were given a brief to create a five-minute short film in response to the prompt sentence and then encouraged to choose either comedy, drama or horror as the genre of their film. The films were to be simply shot on a smartphone – no specialist equipment needed. The one piece of technology filmmakers was provided with was the latest version of Adobe Premiere Pro™ to shape their creations into blockbuster-worthy shorts! But how were students guided through this learning journey?

It all started with Welcome Week back in February. To kick off our diverse series of “Inspiration Sessions” famous Mexican actress, Mariana Guerrero and British filmmaker, Katie Davies shed light on the realities of the film industry and gave their top tips on working together effectively on a long creative project. Students backed up those initial words at the Filmmakers’ Conversation sessions at the end of the course.

The Inspiration Sessions were a regular feature of the four-module programme with experts from the film world from Mexico to the UK sharing their experiences and giving top advice through workshops, Q&A sessions, and tutorials. The third module culminated with the submission of the trailers, which was the first chance to have a sneaky peek at what all the other film crews had been up to! Our friends at AUB were equally intrigued and were invited to leave their invaluable feedback on each trailer which our students found highly rewarding and motivating.

With only one module left to go our ISP movie makers added effects and credits, did the final touches, and made film posters to put in their creative portfolios.
As ISP schools around the globe hosted their school screenings in May, some with popcorn and hotdog stands, the anticipation built. Our Film Festival Coordinators yet again showed their dedication by organising the movie watching session with a big screen, as well as overseeing the big task of the voting forms. The general audience’s votes counting as 50% of the final votes!

Of course, the short films were voted on for their superb acting performances, impressive scriptwriting, and other areas of technical skill, but what also captured our collaborators and audiences across the ISP globe was the wide range of topics! Movie makers covered some very topical issues which they executed maturely and sensitively reaching the audience in a moving yet entertaining way.

The ISP Film Festival Programme enabled our students to express themselves openly through the media of film. From eating disorders to bullying, from domestic violence to gender identity, and even from murder and suicide to revolution and salvation; filmmakers have given us a window into the topics and themes important to them. For that students, we thank you!

One thing is for sure, ISP Film Festival students and coordinators alike have thoroughly enjoyed their learning experience becoming better team players, learning, and applying the basics of filmmaking.

We would like to thank Course Content Coordinator, Ilse Gleason, for her never-ending commitment and inspiration, every Film Festival Coordinator for supporting their film crew at every stage, all the film industry experts who delivered the amazing Inspiration Sessions, each and every student for their dedication to their creative expression and you! – for watching and voting on the films!

Next stop – Hollywood!

Or should we say ISP Film Festival 2022!?

A stepping stone to becoming a movie producer.

The film students are so positive about their work, and it is obvious they have each learned so much about themselves, about film-making, how to tell a story, how to work as a team; this is such an amazing project!!!

The films and the Awards Ceremony were amazing; I don’t mind admitting that I got a lump in my throat with emotion and joy seeing and hearing the students and teachers talk about their truly amazing learning experiences, and that’s what makes it all so worthwhile.

Tom Connelly, ISP South America Regional Head of English Language Development

I am very happy in this moment as I represent all of my team. Thank you for this recognition, we have been very devoted to this project. It means a great deal to us! We have made our dreams come true with the help and hard work of everyone.

It was great to get professional feedback that built our confidence that we were on the right path!

We are honoured, happy and proud! The experience has given us a truly valuable experience that will help us in our future. We went through countless good struggles and learnt many great things, like how to write a script and shoot a scene and develop our teamwork and sportsmanship. We have filled this journey with fun, exciting and memorable moments!

A creative learning journey where strong teamwork has been key!We are honoured, happy and proud! The experience has given us a truly valuable experience that will help us in our future. We went through countless good struggles and learnt many great things, like how to write a script and shoot a scene and develop our teamwork and sportsmanship. We have filled this journey with fun, exciting and memorable moments!

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