Press Releases


Repercussion Theatre


MONTREAL, JUNE 1, 2011–  The Mackay Centre School in NDG held its first film festival  recently and received spectacular reviews, transforming the gymnasium into a movie theatre set the perfect scene decorated with stars, glitter, and a good old-fashioned popcorn stand. Staff were donned in black and white, and Pre-kindergarten to Grade Six students were abuzz with anticipation for their moment in the spotlight.

Principal Patrizia Cicarelli delivered welcoming remarks which described how Mackay strives to empower students by providing opportunities for the children to develop self-reliance, academic success and self-esteem. Cicarelli explained, “The film-making project has supported the school’s mission by allowing students to learn in an active and independent way and to develop a positive attitude towards themselves and the school community.”

Movie-making celebrates the exceptionalities of the student population while introducing new classroom technologies. Each class produced a movie on the topic of their choice, covering themes such as yoga, nursery rhymes, and cooking demonstrations.
After months of writing, filming and editing, the day had arrived where the students’ voices would be heard.

The concept of a school-wide film fest was conceived by first grade teacher Jessica Palmer and computer teacher Gaye McConnell after Palmer’s class made the movie School Rules. “Movie-making captured our students’ attention,” Palmer explains. “It was such a success that I thought it would be a great school wide event. Gaye supported me, the teachers jumped in, and it became what it is.”

McConnell adds, “I’m blown away by how the festival came together. The committee was amazing. They just ran with it. The kids are having so much fun.”

Making movies is a stellar way to learn. Palmer and McConnell describe, “It encompasses everything from language classes, speaking and seeing themselves speak, artwork, creating their own stories and working with the program Movie Maker to choose special effects. Students are excited about it and take it very seriously.”

Captivated by each movie, the students watched attentively and cheered on their classmates. Ten-year old student Jason De Biasi starred in the movie Happy Country, based on the book Sarah Plain and Tall. His thoughts were clear, “I enjoyed the movie- making process, but I am most excited to see myself on screen!”

Parent Ann Paraskevopoulos’ 13 year old son Philip starred in Aug.Com Rocks. Paraskevopoulos couldn’t say enough about the spirit of Mackay School, “I love the fact that the staff do so much to make the kids feel special. It’s fantastic. The kids are going to the movies, and they’re all stars.”

In preparation for the second annual Mackay Film Festival, Palmer and McConnell plan to link the movies with the curriculum, giving teachers the opportunity to integrate movie- making into their unit planning.

Congratulations to Mackay’s budding writers, directors, producers, set designers and actors for their Oscar-worthy performances. Look out Hollywood!

Mackay Centre School is devoted to students who are deaf, have communication disorders or delays and are physically disabled.



Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213