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Wilder students produce second feature-length film, 'The Return to Oz'

Students in the Wilder School District picked up roles like voice acting, editing, production and more. The district said it’s a way for students to try new things.

WILDER, Idaho — Students in the Wilder School District took their love for our planet and their imagination to the big screen.

"It’s about taking care of the earth, I guess," Wilder Student Voice Actor, Selina Longest said. "Picking up after yourself and recycling."

Wednesday the district featured its latest film "The Return to OZ" at the Egyptian theater. 

"We gave them a safe space place to be imaginative," Wilder School District Instructor, Mike Nelson said. 

The film's message focuses on sustainability, which is a topic Nelson believes his students think is important. 

"Students are talking about Earth Day topics and if they are talking about Earth Day topics, you know that it's important," Nelson said. "That's what they should expect.”

The film was done in collaboration with Wonder Media Story Maker, a platform used for students to write and create their own stories.

"The movie, 'The Return to Oz',  is a sequel to 'The Wonder Grove Wizard of Oz' that premiered before the pandemic," Terry Thoren, CEO of Wonder Media said. "We've had a partnership with the Wilder School District for the last 7 years; they were the first district in America to use the program.” 

The film was fully created by students and gave them the opportunity to work in various roles.

"Students wrote this entire movie. They wrote the music, camera angles, lighting, sound design and did all the jobs that you would do in a production studio,” Thoren said.

The district said it gives students the chance to try new things.

"This provides an opportunity for our students to do more than just the normal," Nelson said. "This takes their talents to a different level.” 

Some students fell in love with their new roles and others got a chance to live out a dream they thought was not possible.

"I never thought that I would actually work in an animation studio, let alone voice act. It's always something I would have thought of doing, but never thought I would actually do it,” Longest said.

The film is available on the Wilder School District's website and YouTube

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