Posted on Aug 23, 2017
Kathryn Hecht of Alexander Valley Film Society is our guest speaker.  The following came from where you can learn more about this organization.  Kathryn is the Executive Director of Alexander Valley Film Society. Prior to launching the Film Society, Kathryn served as the Director of Communications for several nonprofits on both the east and west coasts. She specializes in community building and engagement, organizational brand management, and fly-by-the-seat-of-your -pants learning curves. Kathryn enjoyed a decades-long career as an actress before turning her attention to nonprofit and advocacy work. In the spring of 2013, after twenty years in NYC, she and her husband, Ryan, took a leap and headed west. Their adventure includes the revival of The Clover Theater in Cloverdale, CA, 18 months of splitting the 101 while living in Petaluma, and the founding of the Film Society. Kathryn thrives on building and sustaining relationships, as well as shepherding ideas and innovations that benefit community. For Kathryn, the AV Film Society is a culmination of many dreams, passions, and ideologies.
Kathryn stated she founded and now runs Alexander Valley Film Society which is responsible for the Alexander Valley Film Festival.  Then she asked the question, "Why?"  Why have a film society or festival?  She answered by saying our community didn't have one.  The county has 40 school districts.  How are media arts or media skills critical to students today especially in the 21st century learning context?  For us to create model citizens who can communicate with each other, for underserved
populations, and for the broader community of our nation and our nation's culture the media arts are critical.  Unfortunately, media arts and arts education have disappeared from our school curricula. 
She reinforced her point by stating that the cuts to education that occurred in 2008 when the economy tanked are not being restored.  She also pointed out that education reformation with an aim toward STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, there is little room for the arts and media education. 
She talked about millennial, children or those born between 1982 and 2004.  Many of these children don't know how to talk to an adult.  They rely heavily on digital media.  We are not going to get to the great things this generations  promise.  The film society provides media programs year around not just the film festival.  From the beginning they knew they did not wish to add to the school bureaucracy. 
They felt the best way to proceed was to develop two tracks, the film making track and the film studies track.  The film making track is project based is aligned with project based learning, teaching collaboration, team building, etc.  The film studies track ensures kids are meeting diverse film makers in the industry, getting to talk about and see diverse films, taking them to the San Francisco Film Festival.  The students are exposed to the big city and diverse films.  She said it is an invaluable experience when a 13 or 14 years old students see for themselves, away from class, teachers, and parents but, with caring individuals explaining how this is important.  It helps open their eyes.  They plan to offer this type of experience through the schools and the boys and girls clubs in Cloverdale, Geyserville and Healdsburg.  In a way it's slipping the spinach in the brownie. 
Another piece is the summer film workshop.  They pair the kids with professional film makers.  This summer the ratio was two students for every film maker.  They try to connect those who are in need to those who have skills to contribute. 
The Festival planning is in process, but when ready she will bring materials to the club.  Festival runs from `October 19 through the 22.