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ACCS introduces film, photography class

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Mark LaFrancis, right, will be teaching “Introduction to Film and Photography” with the help of Jim Allgood, left, this fall at Adams County Christian School. The 12-student class will create work for a gallery and film festival next spring near the end of the school year.

NATCHEZ — Plenty of Natchez teens have probably already been stars of Internet videos or posed for pictures on Facebook.

But now, at Adams County Christian School, those stars and amateur filmmakers and photographers have a chance to produce content with real class and creativity.

A new class titled “Introduction to Film and Photography” offered at Adams County Christian School will harness the fascination with technology and sharing that is popular among today’s generation and teach them how to do it right.

Mark LaFrancis, an author, poet, filmmaker, former public relations director at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and former journalist, will guide the students through the course. And Redneck Adventures host Jimmy “Jim Bob” Allgood, with his experience of putting together a 30-minute show for 50 million viewers, will be right there with LaFrancis.

“The goal is to educate and excite (students) with new and different ways to tell stories using technology they’re (already) highly comfortable with,” LaFrancis said.

LaFrancis said he signed on to teach the class after ACCS Headmaster David King approached him with a loose idea for the course.

“I was hired on to change the culture (at ACCS) academically,” King said.

And the hands on aspect, as well as bringing in LaFrancis to the school, were factors that King said will benefit students.

“Kids learn differently (today)…And I’m very, very excited to be on the forefront of what I think most schools will (offer) in the future,” King said.

LaFrancis said King approached him nearly the same time LaFrancis promised himself that he would continue to work with students following his recent retirement from Co-Lin.

LaFrancis said the course will feature photography, film, narration and other effects. It will also review theory about photography and dip into journalism.

“We’re going to run in so many directions,” Allgood said.

Of all the schools in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, ACCS will be one of two schools offering a course on media like the one at ACCS, Allgood said.

And with the tax incentives for the film industry in Mississippi and Louisiana, the course can serve as a gateway into a career for students.

“In nearly no (other field) can a student obtain a two-year (associates) degree and start off at approximately $50,000 a year and be a kid that lives in Mississippi,” Allgood said.

The class will be offered to 12 students in grades 10 through 12, LaFrancis said. The focus of the work will likely include subjects students are interested in, such as sports and outdoors, and the results will be shared via social networking and at film and photography exhibits.

LaFrancis said whether it’s iPhones, film cameras or video — cameras are going to tell the stories in the future, in his opinion.

Additionally, Allgood said he has seen firsthand how telling stories through video has the ability to reach people and even change lives.

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