Film students win award for out-of-the-box thinking

Project focuses on anti-gambling public service announcements

Venture Academy Family of School (VAFS) film students received the Youth Visionary Award at the Betting On Our Future (BOOF) Spotlight Film Festival in Anaheim in June.

The eight students produced three different films for the (BOOF) project. The films consist of two 30-second public service announcements (PSAs) and a documentary-style film about the negative effects of gambling as well as gambling addiction prevention.

The 30-second PSA that received the Youth Visionary Award sets a scene of children being left in a hot car while the parents are gambling inside a casino.

VAFS CTE film instructor Jory Kusy said that one of the students involved in the project plans to continue her education in mental health, which is where the idea came from for the winning PSA.  

The students’ ability levels ranged from intermediate beginner to advanced. Students were selected for the project based on their dedication to film and their overall work ethic, Kusy said. They met voluntarily after school, November 2015 through May 2016 for three hours a week, to design, film, and produce the projects.

The production costs are funded through a $5,000 grant received from the California Office of Problem Gambling (OPG). California Friday Night Live Partnership, a program focused on promoting healthy lifestyles among youth, offers an annual grant opportunity through the Tulare County Office of Education provided by the OPG. This is the fourth year that the SJCOE has received the grant. Last year, VAFS film students won the Best Use of Visual Effects award at the same festival.

 Watch the three films here:

 For more information about Venture Academy Family of Schools, a San Joaquin County Office of Education charter school, visit

Posted: 8/29/2016