High School Workshops

The Films With Impact (FWI) workshops are hands-on, interactive workshops in which high school students create their own short films about mental health. They are the experts on what it’s like to be a young person today, and FWI offers them the tools and support necessary to tell important stories through the art of film.

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Films With Impact (FWI) is typically a multi-day workshop that takes place in high schools. Our expert FWI Educators lead the sessions in class time during the school day. Art With Impact works with each school individually to find a format and schedule that will work for them.

Mental Health

We start with an engaging mental health overview, with students learning – and then teaching each other – about the ten most common mental illnesses amongst high school students. They also explore ways that mental health issues are portrayed in the media, and talked about (or not talked about) across cultures. We discuss stigma, including what it means, how it feels, and why it’s important that we destigmatize mental illness.


The students watch and discuss several short films about mental health from AWI’s OLIVE film collection that were made by high school students. Following this is a discussion of filmmaking techniques, points of view, ways to tell a story, artistic tips and tricks, and five filmmaking roles that go into making a film: writer, director, director of photography, actor and editor.


The core of the FWI workshop is when students are actually creating films. The students, in groups of five, collaborate in their different roles to write, film and edit their own one-minute films that tell a story and reduce stigma about mental illness. The FWI Educators guide them as they choose a diagnosis or mental health issue to explore, how they want to tell their story, and what filmmaking techniques they can use to effectively tell that story. The students work together quickly and have lots of fun, and always end up happily surprised with what they can accomplish in a short amount of time!

Film Festival and Resources

The workshop concludes with a film festival, showing all the films that the students created and discussing the process and final products. This always comes with a sense of accomplishment and community support for one another! We also go over many of the mental health resources that are available to students – at their school, in their community, and online and over the phone. We close with an interactive discussion about mental wellness and mental wellness practices, including creativity and filmmaking, which they have now experienced first-hand.


Interested in offering Films With Impact to students at your high school?

Contact Maya Grodman for US and Natalie Daley for Canada!

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