The New Jersey School Boards Association has teamed up with Steven Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation to produce the Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries Film Festival, to be held at the Workshop 2018 conference this October. Students are encouraged to dig deep into the sounds of their hometowns with this dynamic, hands-on exploration of local history through music.

Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries is a project-based learning initiative, created by the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, that empowers groups of students to create a filmed portrait of their town’s musical history through research in libraries and archives, interviews with family members, local musicians, venue owners, historians, and fans.

Inspired by the award-winning HBO series, Sonic Highways, these documentaries provide students a dynamic, hands-on way to explore local history through music, by problem solving, working on creating long form narratives, and engaging in basic filmmaking. Completed films shine in students’ portfolios, demonstrating their ability to work in groups, organize and finish a major project, and apply scholarly concepts to real-world tasks.

Workshop 2018 Film Festival The Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries Film Festival will take place at the annual Workshop 2018 conference, on Oct. 23 and 24 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Participating students will have the opportunity to screen their films at the festival and participate in a question-and-answer session with attendees.

Want to learn more? For guidelines, including film treatment requirements, sample interview questions, tips on research, filming, and more, visit the Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries area of the website.

Submissions/Deadline Extension To be considered for the 2018 Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries project, groups of students in grades 9 through 11 must submit a film treatment to the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. Due to the numerous weather-related school closures, the submission deadline has been extended to Monday, April 23, 2018. Please indicate whether or not your school has a film class/department.

Treatments which have been greenlit for production will be notified by May 1. 

Podcast: Spotlighting Your Student Filmmakers  The Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries project was the subject of a recent podcast on BlogTalkRadio. Listen to the archived broadcast to learn more about ways students can get involved in this exciting new initiative.

For questions and submissions, please contact the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation.

Find out more about the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation’s TeachRock project and view all 120+ free lesson plans, online.