Media Education
Integrating Media Arts into Classroom Learning

COVID-19 UPDATE: Utah Film Center’s Education Team is working hard to meet you (schools, teachers, and students) wherever you are and wherever you end up in the COVID-19 crisis this coming school year. More than ever, finding creativity and innovation in our media-saturated world is important for educators and students. Ideally, we hope to meet you in person like we always have for our In Your Classroom, Festival Field Trips, and teacher professional development programs, but know that we are working hard to adapt and shape our offerings to meet you in your virtual classrooms.

Our media education programs and our entire organization are built on the idea of sharing stories. We plan to do so with you through the medium of film, COVID-19 or not. We are here and we want to connect with you.

Utah Film Center’s Media Education programs benefit over 12,000 students each year. We introduce students and teachers to the power of film as a teaching and learning resource and work to improve students’ media literacy through film screenings, discussions, workshops, and classroom lessons that will increase student engagement, comprehension, and critical thinking while supporting core curriculum requirements for arts education.

SHIFT: Professional Development

Workshops and curriculum for grades 4-12 educators that provide immersive, high-quality professional development that supports the integration of the filmmaking process into educational settings.

In Your (Virtual) Classroom

Catering to Utah public school students, these free in-classroom interactive presentations help students develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression to competently apply literacy skills to media and technology.


Festival Field Trips

Free Tumbleweeds Festival Field Trips for grades 1-12 as part of our Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Children and Youth. Each screening is followed by a discussion and all participating teachers will receive a study guide packet.

Film Spark

Documentaries paired with study guides to help the development of communication, critical thinking, media literacy, social action, and media creation.

Work for an educational organization, school district, or theatre and interested in offering educational resources to educators? Click here to see how we can help!

SHIFT: Professional Development

SHIFT changes how teachers teach and students learn.

Utah Film Center’s SHIFT program offers grades 4-12 educators immersive, high-quality professional development and curriculum that supports the integration of the filmmaking process into educational settings. Workshops and instructional materials provide comprehensive, standards-linked lesson plans to guide educators on how to produce documentaries, public service announcements (PSAs), instructional videos, personal narratives, and other short film projects with their students. The SHIFT model is committed to strengthening teacher practice, increasing student achievement, and developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.

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Welcome educators and youth leaders!

If you work with youth in school or out-of-school, and are interested in integrating the filmmaking and other digital storytelling strategies into your instruction, SHIFT can train and guide you on how to produce documentaries, public service announcements (PSAs), instructional videos, personal narratives, and other short film projects with your students.

Our workshops and ongoing trainings are most often grant funded (and therefore at no charge to you). We work with school districts and partner with community organizations to customize professional development experiences for educators to fit the needs and geographic location of desired participants. Please check our upcoming workshops page to find a workshop that works for you.

Our Goals


Inspire teachers and increase the use of creative technology integration.

Stimulate classroom climate and excite students through the learning process.

Increase student achievement through enhanced instruction.

SHIFT Workshop Models

We understand that teachers’ plates are most often full. For that reason we offer distinct professional development workshop models to accommodate busy schedules.

Year Long
Intensive Model

Begins with a 2 to 3-day intensive training followed by quarterly or monthly trainings throughout the school year.


Customizable to fit your schedule and training needs. Typically it is a stand-alone hands-on 2 to 3-day workshop that walks educators through the filmmaking process and how that integrates into content instruction.


1 to 3-hour experiences typically at conferences and festivals that start with a youth media overview and introduces educators to the digital storytelling process and resources.

Workshop Objectives

Understand the fundamentals of the filmmaking process. Integrate creativity and relevant new technology to enhance teaching and learning.
Design standards linked lesson plans involving the cinematic process.
Celebrate the vision and voices of an emerging generation through digital storytelling.
Feel more confident with project-based learning. Integrate critical and inventive thinking in the classroom.

Participant incentives vary depending on the commitment level – all workshop participants receive a standards-linked SHIFT Filmmaking Curriculum Manual and eligible educators receive professional development credit for participating. To apply or register, please consult our “Available Workshops” tab.

2017-18 Annual Report

Click image above to see full report (will open in new tab)

How do I get started?

How is filmmaking relevant and helpful to delivering the necessary content to my students? SHIFT’s highly praised and teacher-friendly curriculum guide makes implementing media arts in the classroom accessible and relevant.

The 244 page resource guide, Learning in Focus: A Curriculum Guide to Engage, Teach, and Inspire Students through Filmmaking, contains five instructional units broken down into succinct lesson plans and a supporting thumb drive containing over 30 youth-produced short films, and digital versions of every handout.

These units are:

  • Unit One: Filmmaking Bootcamp
  • Unit Two: Personal Narrative
  • Unit Three: Instructional Video
  • Unit Four: Public Service Announcement
  • Unit Five: Documentary
Curriculum Guide: Grades 9-12
Curriculum Guide: Grades 9-12

Curriculum Guide: Grades 4-8
Curriculum Guide: Grades 4-8

Each media-rich unit consists of an average of seven lesson plans and two assessment rubrics and each lesson has been linked to relevant academic standards, including:

  • Common Core State Standards (CCSS): English Language Arts
  • International Society for Technology in Education Standards for Students (ISTE-S)
  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  • New Media Arts Standards

Click below to preview the Table of Contents and curriculum samples from Unit One: Filmmaking Bootcamp and Unit Five: Documentary from this highly regarded instructional resource.


TOC Curriculum Sample


Filmmaking Bootcamp Sample


Documentary Curriculum Sample

Order a copy of Learning in Focus: A Curriculum Guide to Engage, Teach, and Inspire Students through Filmmaking.

*SHIFT provides a complimentary curriculum guide to every teacher who participates in their professional development training.

Gallery Coming Soon!

Below is an ever-evolving list of resources we find useful and believe you will as well!

Click ‘Show Resources’ under header to view resources.

Filmmaking Essentials: Information about filmmaking equipment and general elements of the filmmaking process (also refer to the Curriculum and Resources section at the bottom of this page)

Filmmaking Apps: Filmmaking applications to use on mobile devices and/or computers

Audio Making Essentials: Podcast Sites & techniques for capturing good audio in film production

Copyright For Educators: Resources that explain the legal issues related to the music, video, and pictures in digital projects.  Note: These materials should not be understood as legal advice.  For legal advice about a particular problem or concern, always consult a qualified lawyer.

Copyright Free Resources for Video, Music, Sound Effects & Images: Refer to each site for copyright related to the site’s media.

Editing Software & Tutorials: Tutorials on multiple software platforms used in post-production stage of filmmaking

Distribution & Exhibition: Resources about sharing student work with a larger audience and sites for uploading student work.

Movie Media Galleries: Movies and other media projects produced by students, teachers, and professional filmmakers.

Media Literacy: Resources to help teach and strengthen students’ understanding of media literacy and their role as media consumers and producers.

Project-Based Learning: Resources to help teachers construct and implement project based learning experiences in the classroom.

Curriculum Resources & Lesson Plans: Digital media curriculum and lesson plan ideas for teachers to use and modify in the classroom.

Professional Development:  Sites with workshops or opportunities to enhance your teaching profession.


In Your (Virtual) Classroom Presentations for Students

The In Your (Virtual) Classroom program helps students develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression to competently apply literacy skills to media and technology. Catering to Utah public school students, these interactive presentations are free of charge and can be booked at any time during the school year. This program is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors.

Behind the Animation

We take students on a journey of visual storytelling by going behind-the-scenes into the process of making an animated film. A professional animator leads your students through the creative process with specific attention paid to visual storytelling elements, construction, and impact of message.

Click here to check out our pre-event materials.

This 50-minute interactive presentation is designed for 3rd – 12th graders. Based on your available room capacity, this presentation can be done for groups from a single class to a moderately-sized assembly.

This 30-minute interactive Webex presentation is designed for 3rd-8th graders.

Registration opening soon!

All School Year
Available in the following school districts:
Salt Lake City, Granite, Murray, Jordan, Canyons, Alpine, Provo, Nebo, Park City, Tooele

October 7–11, 2019
Available in the following school districts:
Juab, Nebo, North Sanpete, South Sanpete, Sevier, Tintic

April 22-24, 2020
Available in the following school districts:
Garfield, Kane, Piute, Wayne

The two programs below are on hiatus for the 2020/2021 School Year

Moving Stories: VR and AR in the Classroom

*This presentation uses Oculus Go headsets. Oculus recommends these headsets for ages 13+ due to the size of the headset and the spacing of the lenses.

We bring the latest in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to your classroom to show how these immersive technologies can be used to create impactful stories. Students will learn the differences and similarities between traditional films and VR films, both from a filmmaking and an audience standpoint. After watching a VR documentary filmed in a Syrian refugee camp, students will create AR content to delve into their own personal stories.

This 50-minute interactive presentation is designed for a single class of 6th – 12th graders, that does not exceed 26 students.

This program is on hiatus.

All School Year
Available in the following school districts:
Salt Lake City, Granite, Murray, Jordan, Canyons, Alpine, Provo, Nebo, Park City, Tooele

October 7–11, 2019
Available in the following school districts:
Garfield, Kane, Piute, Wayne

April 19-25, 2020
Available in the following school districts:
Juab, Nebo, North Sanpete, South Sanpete, Sevier, Tintic

Real to Reel

Real to Reel is a classroom presentation that explores various styles of documentary film. Students will learn to interpret intent, understand how filmmaking techniques affect our perception of the content, and apply criteria to demonstrate how these choices convey meaning to the audience.

This program is on hiatus.

2020 Tumbleweeds Festival Field Trips

Registration is closed – Thank you to all who attended!
2021 Details Coming Soon!

Monday, March 9 through Thursday, March 12
Library Square in downtown Salt Lake City, Viridian Library & Events Center in West Jordan, and SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem

Utah Film Center is pleased to offer FREE Tumbleweeds Festival Field Trips to grades 1-12 as part of our Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Kids. Field trips are curated with an eye toward introducing young audiences to the joys of international and independent cinema, creative thinking, and storytelling.

Scroll below and click on the type of field trip, Film or Workshop, you are interested in attending to see available venues, date, and times. Please note Workshops are only available on Monday, March 9 at The City Library in downtown Salt Lake City.

Underwriting for bus/transportation support is available, email mwalker [at] for information.

All film screenings include a post-film dicussion and a curriculum-linked study guide created by Utah Film Center’s Media Education department for educators to continue the conversation inspired by the film as part of their classroom activities.

Animated Shorts Program
with pre-film presentation and post-film discussion with a professional animator who graduated from BYU’s Animation Program.
Program runtime (film + discussion) is 75 minutes

A selection of animated films from around the world programmed specifically for youth film-lovers.

SCERA Center for the Arts
600 S 400 E

West Jordan
Viridian Library and Event Center
8030 S 1825 W

We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest
with post-film discussion.
Program runtime (film + discussion) is approx. 100 minutes

Directed by Amy Schatz
67 min | 2020 | USA | TV-G

Follow students from schools across Oakland, California in the months leading up to the 40th annual MLK Oratorical Festival as they hone their speeches, hoping for a coveted spot in the finals. From Emmy-winning director Amy Schatz and executive producer Mahershala Ali.

SCERA Center for the Arts
600 S 400 E

Salt Lake City
The City Library
210 E 400 S

with post-film discussion.
Program runtime (film + discussion) is 120 minutes

Directed by Frederike Migom
102 min | 2018 | Belgium/Netherlands | Not Rated
Cast: Bebel Tshiani Baloji, Mo Bakker, Joke Devynck, Baloji, Caroline Stas, Noa Jacobs

Twelve-year-old Binti dreams of becoming a famous vlogger like her idol Tatyana. But when the police raid her home, and try to deport her and her dad, they are forced to flee. Together with her friend Elias she now plots the perfect plan to stay in the country.

Presented in Dutch with English subtitles – reader provided.

To enhance our young viewers’ appreciation of foreign-language movies, we have readers read subtitles aloud. We play the readings through individual headsets, to allow those who do not require the service to experience the film without hearing the reader.

Salt Lake City
The City Library
210 E 400 S

Workshops connect kids directly with experts in animation, augmented reality, and virtual reality filmmaking. These workshops are designed to deepen students’ appreciation for storytelling while introducing them to media literacy concepts and the technology driving current and future forms of storytelling.

Workshop 1: Behind the Animation with Stop Motion Workshop
Instructor: Nathan Lindsay, Professor of Animation at BYU, animator for Disney Studios and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Program runtime 90 minutes.

An expanded version of our In Your Classroom program of the same name, this workshop will walk kids through the process of making an animated film. A professional animator who has worked for Disney/Pixar will lead this workshop.

Workshop 2: Augmented Reality Treasure Hunt on the History of Film
Instructors: Dane Christensen and Carol Dalrymple; VR filmmakers
Program runtime 90 minutes.

Explore the history and behind the scenes nature of film using Augmented Reality! Students will go on an Augmented Reality treasure hunt to learn about how cinema comes together and comes to life.

Salt Lake City
The City Library
210 E 400 S

Workshop 3: Virtual Reality Documentary Clouds Over Sidra
Instructor: Karem Orrego; filmmaker
Program runtime 60 minutes.

This workshop is modeled after our In Your Classroom Moving Stories workshop. Students will be taken on a virtual journey through the life and thoughts of a young Syrian girl named Sidra who is living with her family in a Refugee Camp. The use of VR headsets will take place in this workshop and an in-depth discussion on the film will take place after viewing the short documentary. Because of content, discussion, and advanced technology use, this workshop is designed for grades 6th and up.

Salt Lake City
The City Library
210 E 400 S

Film Spark

Curriculum Aligned Films & Study Guides

Documentary films are powerful, multi-sensory experiences that help students build social and emotional awareness and connect them to current events, cultures, crucial social and political issues, and beliefs beyond their own.

This Film Spark documentary collection is selected to initiate meaningful classroom discussions and activities that ultimately lead young people to deepen their understanding of the content and further develop their own voices.

All curriculum is standards-aligned and supports pre and post screening discussions and hands-on activities.

Click on the film still below to watch trailers, learn where to stream, and download study guides.



A social worker works to share their important discovery - that listening to music can unlock the memories of people suffering from dementia.


The human impact of climate change is shown through the stories of two anthropologists and their daughters.


A young man from Pennsylvania decides to change his life after he visits an HIV orphanage in India.


The story of a young woman who used her experience with being cyberbullied to start a worldwide anti-bullying crusade.


A candid look at the effects of bullying on teens in America’s heartland.


Making the case that the obesity epidemic in America’s children isn’t due to lack of exercise, but to excessive sugar intake.


Explores the life and tragic death of Matthew Shepard, the gay student murdered in Laramie, WY.


An analysis of the growing problem of food insecurity in America.


Follow four young men as they attempt to prove the value of mustang horses by riding them from Mexico to Canada.

*Study guides are property of the Utah Film Center and require written or electronic consent before sharing or distributing. Please respect the law and the artist(s) behind the work when exhibiting documentary film work, and if you’re not showcasing the media in a lawful manner purchase the appropriate screening license from the filmmaker or distribution company.


A documentary film is a nonfiction movie intended to chronicle reality. Documentaries are made to instruct, or to create a lasting record of their subjects. They are often used to inform people about social issues, showcase historical events, or celebrate memorable lives.

Some styles of documentary film include expository (meant as an authoritative voice, explaining something to the viewer), observational (fly-on-the-wall), poetic (experimental, impressionistic), and reflexive (draws attention to the filmmaker and the filmmaking process).

As soon as motion pictures were invented, people used them to document their lives. The first publicly screened film and documentary was an 1895 movie titled Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory. It showed crowds of people flowing out of the factory at the end of the workday. This subject not only showcased the movement this new medium could capture, but provided a look into the lives of the workers at the Lumiere’s photo equipment factory. Twenty seven years later in 1922, the first feature-length documentary, Nanook of the North, was released.

Some successful contemporary documentary filmmakers include Davis Guggenheim (He Named Me Malala), Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), Laura Poitras (Citizenfour), Lucy Walker (The Crash Reel), and Michael Moore, whose Fahrenheit 9/11 is the top-grossing documentary of all time.

The “Activities” section of the Film Spark Study Guides include Making Art and Making Media activities that may require either accessing online resources (most often a website), some further explanation, or, for the media-making activities in particular, acquiring a new skill set. Here we have provided some guidelines and links to supplemental resources to help you and your students successfully navigate these activities efficiently and effectively.

Making Art Activities 

We highly recommend that the Making Art activities be done in a sketchbook that we refer to in the Study Guides as a “portfolio.” The sketchbook should be approximately 9×12 inches and contain blank, unlined pages for sketching and drawing.

Making Media Activities 

Infographic Posters
Infographics are visuals that help you share information. The websites referenced below and in the Study Guides not only provide users with multiple examples and ideas, but also makes the process much easier, requiring little to no graphic design skills. Once you enter either of these free infographic sites, you can choose a poster template that you can then edit and customize according to your data needs and layout ideas. |  piktochart

Audio Mixes
An audio mix, or sound collage, is a mixture of voices, sound effects, and music (optional) that have been recorded on a device, such as an iphone, then put into audio editing software (we recommend downloading Audacity (free) for Macs or PCs) and edited to create a complete audio piece. The strength of the message derives from the multiple perspectives (many people speaking to any given topic). These stories can be podcasted on itunes for example, or posted to sound platforms such as, where anyone can share their audio pieces. The site below, also referenced in the Study Guides, is not only a sound platform where anyone can post, but also contains a “resource for educators” section that takes you through the steps of creating audio stories with your students.

soundcloud | Radio Rookies

Public Service Announcement (PSA) Campaigns
A PSA is like a short commercial and is sometimes presented as a video (typically 30-60 seconds), audio piece (heard on the radio), or found in print form in magazines, billboards, or newspapers. A PSA attempts to raise awareness about a problem or issue and persuades the audience to take action to solve a problem. The key to a good PSA is a clear and concise message intended for a specific audience, accurate facts, and figures, a catchy tagline such as “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute,” and a call to action that directs the audience to additional resources where they can help solve the problem. When creating video PSAs, it is important to have students carefully plan, including storyboarding their piece, before shooting and keeping track of research sources for the credits. Video editing software comes free on Macs and PC’s and can be used to edit films. For PSA tutorials check out YouTube,, or Vimeo Video School. Consult the Ad Council website for many print examples and to understand the history of PSAs. For a selection of student-produced PSA video examples go to the SHIFT Media Gallery and scroll down to the PSA section.

Photo Films
Also known as audio slideshows, this format is popular with journalists and combines audio narration (a story told and recorded) with photographs. Together, they can resemble a film as the still photos progress with the audio story. A few good examples done by Amy O’Leary for the New York Times can be found through the link below. Adding sound effects, and/or a soundtrack is optional and a bit more advanced, but is something to aspire to as they enhance the story and create ambiance. For guidance, consult the Vimeo School “storytelling with sound” link.

StoryTelling with Sound | Amy O’Leary Step-By-Step and Audio Slideshow Examples

Stop Motion Animation
Stop Motion is a technique that brings inanimate objects to life by taking a series of photographs and stringing them together to create the illusion of motion. The How-To-Do-Stop-Motion site has a series of “how to” videos that not only show you technique but provide specifics on how to animate certain objects. If you are looking for a step-by-step guide, the Adobe Education Exchange website under the youth media category has an eight-session stop motion animation curriculum called “stories in motion” that will direct you through the process.

Media Literacy Project: This site contains some of the best media literacy curricula and action guides to help teach and strengthen students’ understanding of media literacy and their role as media consumers and producers.

PBS Learning Media: A media-rich website that lets you search by subject matter, grade level, and media type to find standards-aligned digital resources and professional development experiences. Also explore for curriculum-aligned resources for students to further explore topics of interest.

HandHeld Hollywood: Known as HHH, this is great site to research affordable gear, the newest filmmaking-related iOS apps, and to find inspiration.

Vimeo Video School: An amazing resource that hosts a variety of software tutorials in Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, and Windows Movie Maker, as well as shares other Do-It-Yourself (DIY), low-budget, high-quality production tips. They also host thematic “weekend challenges” that students can participate in.

KQED: This public media station out of San Francisco, California has a robust education section that includes professional development opportunities, digital tools that are usually free, easy to access and use, and media-making tool kits. Check out their twitter feed as well: @KQEDedspace for a plethora of ideas and inspiration.

ProjectED: A site for students and educators that hosts contests for students and creators, and contains videos and lesson plans for teachers.

Spy Hop Productions: A nationally-acclaimed youth mentorship digital media arts organization where young people can take classes, participate in digital media driven community events, and step into their creativity. Their Vimeo channel has a plethora of inspiring, high-quality youth-produced films.

Adobe Education Exchange: This site has endless digital media resources for teachers to execute digital storytelling with youth. Beginning through advanced digital media professional development classes are also offered, as well as an extensive youth media section that features a huge media gallery from around the world where youth have created meaningful works on a range of issues important to them and their communities.

The Study Guides that have been created to accompany each of the Film Spark films have been aligned to multiple curriculum standard areas, including: Utah Fine Arts Core Standards-Secondary Media Arts, Utah Core State Standards for English Language Arts-Secondary, Utah Standards for Library Media-Secondary, and the Film Foundation’s National Film Study Standards for Middle School.

The key relevant “Anchor” and “Strand” Standards from each discipline are listed below, but to see a comprehensive list of supporting Sub-standards and Objectives, please click on the appropriate title link below.


Anchor Standards (grades 7-8)

Respond–Students will perceive and analyze artistic work and process. They will interpret intent and meaning, and apply criteria to evaluate artistic work and process.

Connect–Students will synthesize and relate knowledge from personal and collaborative experience to make and receive art. They will relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

Anchor Standards (grades 9-12)

There are three “Levels” and Anchor Standards of “Respond” and “Connect” are identical throughout each Level, but with differing Sub-standards by ability.

Level One

Respond–Students will understand, evaluate, and articulate how works of art convey meaning for the observer as well as the creator.

Connect–Student will relate artistic skills, ideas, and work with personal meaning and external context.


College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening

Comprehension and Collaboration

  1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.


Strand II Literacy: Information and Research

Students need the lifelong skills of selecting information from a wide variety of sources, assessing its worth, and applying newfound knowledge to problems, preparing them for learning, doing, and problem solving in college, career and throughout life. Teacher librarians will instruct students in a multi-step research process that is adaptable. As students gain research skills, they develop self-confidence in solving information problems in an environment where information resources and technologies have become increasingly complex.

Standard 4–Students will engage with and extract information.

Strand III Literacy: Media Engagement

In order to make informed decisions, students must successfully discern and interpret the messages surrounding them in media. Teacher librarians, in collaboration with classroom teachers, can integrate these skills into curricular units throughout a wide range of core and elective subjects.

Standard 1–Students will demonstrate that media literacy is a life skill integral to modern citizenship and informed decision-making.


Standard 1.0–Film Language

Standard 2.0–Historical and Cultural Contexts

Standard 3.0–Production and Creative Expression

Standard 4.0–Viewers’ Response and Aesthetic Valuing

Standard 5.0–Cross-Curricular Connections

Already have a printed Film Spark volume? Access the password protected study guide pages below.

Volume 1: Study Guides Volume 2: Study Guides

Stay Connected

Recent Media Education News

Meet the Team
Education Admin Manager

Leslie Means

Education Program Manager

Michelle Walker

Founder / Instructor

Rick Wray

Education Admin Manager

Leslie Means

Leslie Means was born in Salt Lake City and raised in the Salt Lake Valley, where she fostered a love of both movies and teaching children. She attended Snow College, and studied in the University of Utah’s film department. Her work with Utah Film Center started as a parent volunteer, part of the advisory board that helped launch the first Tumbleweeds Film Festival in 2011. Leslie was one of the first employees of Utah Film Center’s education department. There she has programmed and organized field trips for students across Utah, worked with teachers, and has gone into schools to teach film appreciation — including the In Your Classroom programs Behind the Animation and Real to Reel. Leslie has also had a hand in establishing Utah Film Center’s public face, overseeing the center’s newsletters and social media.

Education Program Manager

Michelle Walker

Michelle Walker is a teacher, writer, artist, photographer, and public speaker. She grew up in Fairfield, California and moved to Utah where she attended Brigham Young University. She received her BA in English Teaching with an accompanying minor in Art Education. She has had incredible experiences teaching literature and art to thousands of students grades 6-12 at Mapleton Junior High School and American Fork High School. Her greatest passion as an educator is to inspire students to authentically share their stories and to listen deliberately to the stories of others. As a result of this desire, she and some wonderful colleagues began and facilitated a slam poetry club, a school-wide annual storytelling slam, and an anti-bullying organization called ‘Be The Change’ that brought the student body into greater unity. She is dedicated to creating spaces where disparities can be bridged and humans can genuinely connect.

Part of what makes Michelle a unique, powerful, and versatile educator is her ability to collect of words, images, colors, stories, and experiences. She has travelled the world (and plans to continue these explorations), lived in Alaska leading groups of people into pristine areas of the state avoiding Brown Bear attacks, and hiked countless miles of Southern Utah’s desert washes. While her first love will always be the Pacific Ocean, there is something about the varied, arid, wide-stretching landscape of Utah’s red rock regions that captivate her. Her paintings, writing, and photography reflect her experiences along the Pacific Coastline and the time she has spent wandering Southern Utah. She is very excited to be a part of the Education Team at the Utah Film Center. She is a true teacher at her core and nothing makes her come alive like inspiring and empowering fellow teachers and students.

Founder / Instructor

Rick Wray

Rick Wray was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. His university education took him to Seattle and the University of Washington. Back in Utah in 1996, Rick brought an educational vision to fruition when he co-founded Higher Ground Learning (HGL), a creative tutoring and mentoring center focused on creating customized learning models based on students individual learning needs. While at Higher Ground, Rick realized the dynamic nature of digital storytelling and its enormous untapped potential after designing and teaching numerous media arts workshops. In 1999, Rick passed on the reins of HGL and founded Utah’s only not-for-profit youth media center, Spy Hop Productions. In 2003 he was the recipient of the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Service to the Arts Award and in 2010 was a Utah finalist for the Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2010 after serving over 10,000 Utah youth with innovative audio, video and interactive programming as Spy Hop Productions’ Executive Director, Rick Wray stepped down to launch a full time teacher-training organization focused on integrating filmmaking and digital storytelling into classroom instruction. In September that year, Rick founded SHIFT and was the Executive Director through to 2015. In June of 2015, SHIFT joined the Utah Film Center and Rick is currently the Director of Education.

Major Funding and Support Provided By

POPS Logo FINAL blue   Rocky Mountain Power Foundation

Utah Film Center Media Education programs are supported by POPS

About POPS
POPS (Professional Outreach Programs in the Schools) is an educational outreach program in the fine arts that provides a mechanism for Utah’s professional art organizations to assist in teaching the Utah’s fine art core curriculum in the public schools. Professional organizations match state revenues to support and enhance the delivery of art education through demonstrations, performances, presentations, and educational activities in the schools. The program ensures that each of the 41 school districts have the opportunity to receive services in a balanced and comprehensive manner over three years.

Utah Film Center POPS 2019-20 Final Annual Report

For more information contact Utah Film Center’s Media Education team at