Randy LaBauve, Fox, Janet E., Hurlbert, Deborah L. | 7/8/2015 7:59:22 PM
News Release Distributed 07/08/15
ST. LOUIS – 4-H youth from Vermilion Parish attended the National 4-H Film Festival and won an award for their video “Somewhere Over the Bayou.” Brothers Ty and Clay Zaunbrecher, of Abbeville, the first Louisianians ever to compete in the contest, submitted the entry that placed third in the promotional category.
Participants from 14 states attended the event. The festival featured professional cinematic producers and actors like Bill Chott (“Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Third Rock from the Sun”) and Erica Ibsen (“Joe Dirt 2”), who conducted hands-on workshops and provided positive critiques of student productions.
Participants also viewed youth entries and exclusive screenings of movies not yet released to theaters.
“The kids get something here they won’t get anywhere else,” said Bradd Anderson, 4-H youth development specialist at the University of Missouri and director of the festival. “They take something personal from themselves, share it with others and get feedback from professionals.”
The Zaunbrechers won a GoPro camera they will use to produce a video for next year’s competition. In the past, both brothers have completed video training through the Louisiana 4-H youth development program and have continued to use those skills.
“I enjoyed seeing other people’s films and just connecting with other filmmakers from across the country,” said 15-year-old Clay Zaunbrecher.
“It was great to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who shared the same sort of passions and interests,” added 17-year-old Ty Zaunbrecher.
“Somewhere Over the Bayou” was created by a team of youth as part of a larger LSU AgCenter project to educate youth about disasters and teach them how to mitigate, or adapt, buildings so they have less damage during future events.
The group, which included the Zaunbrecher brothers, were all residents of a vulnerable coastal region. They participated in an extensive year-long class, where they actively learned about issues like flood zones, building codes and permitting, storm surge, subsidence and mitigation strategies.
Their overarching mission was to write a hazard mitigation grant proposal to protect a parish-owned building and to present the plan to local government decision makers.
“There’s a lot to know and a good deal of work involved,” said Debbie Hurlbert, LSU AgCenter extension associate in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department.
“I was truly amazed at how quickly they caught on to these concepts,” she said.
“We were part of a pilot program with the AgCenter about hazard mitigation, and we wanted to come up with a way to promote the project in a fun way and we ended up making the video,” Clay Zaunbrecher said.
“I am just delighted their film was shown at the Film Fest. 4-H’ers from all over the nation were able to see this unique project,” Hurlbert said. “It helps open doors for other kids to do something similar.”
“With the film industry in Louisiana and the wide use of videos in teaching and marketing, the skills these youth gained are critical as they plan for future careers,” said Janet Fox, LSU AgCenter 4-H youth development department head.
“The 4-H Youth Development Program promotes positive development so that youth can become productive citizens,” Fox said.
Prior to the national 4-H Film Fest, the youth presented their video, a comical, yet instructional spoof of the “Wizard of Oz,” to the Vermilion Parish police jury. It was also posted on YouTube and Twitter feeds from Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 6 and promoted by the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
The Zaunbrecher brothers were able to present and discuss the video at a national Extension Disaster Education Network annual meeting in 2014.
Accolades for “Somewhere Over the Bayou” at the National Film Fest added even more luster to an already successful completion of the innovative disaster mitigation class.
“The video is part of their reflection on the mitigation project,” said Hurlbert. “They learn, and they share with peers and adults.”
The project was made possible by funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, through the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Community Education Outreach project “Get a Game Plan.”
To view “Somewhere Over the Bayou,” go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy03_jqQe1U. Learn more about the 4-H youth-led mitigation planning project by visiting LSUAgCenter.com/4HAteam.