Students film project promotes anti-tobacco in Greater Franklin County

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WILTON – CUT the Habit, a student-led film project organized by the Healthy Community Coalition and funded through a grant from the American Legacy Foundation, held a summer institute in July at Franklin Memorial Hospital. High school students from Jay, Livermore Falls, Mt. Abram, and Mt. Blue attended the three-day training, where they learned about the health effects of tobacco, as well as how the tobacco industry (Big Tobacco) uses media to recruit replacement smokers.

As part of the ongoing project, students will learn the basics of filmmaking from MPBN Executive Producer Chris Sweet, a graduate of Mt. Blue High School. They will work in school-based groups through the fall writing and filming their projects, with post-production work schedule for January and
February. CUT the Habit will culminate in a film festival slated for the spring of 2009.

“Big Tobacco advertises its products to entice young people into a lifetime of smoking,” said Lorri Mealey, program coordinator for the CUT the Habit film project. “The goals of this grant are to counter the use of tobacco products by youth and educate consumers about the diseases associated with the use of tobacco products. In the U.S., about 1,200 people a day die from tobacco-related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and stroke.”

Students from each of the five area school districts are invited to participate in the filming and editing process. Each of the finished films will be posted on the Web for area students to vote on. And, the top three films will be distributed on DVDs through local movie rental stores and will
be shown at theaters in Farmington and Rangeley.

Mealey will soon be visiting area schools to speak with interested students. Students do not need to have a background in theater or film to participate in the project. For more information, contact Mealey at 645-3136, ext. 5111.

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