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Winners 2008
  
GENERAL EXCELLENCE

CRAIG LINDVAHL & JOE FATHEREE
Filmmakers and Teachers
Effingham High School
Effingham, Illinois
Cable System: Mediacom


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"Students instinctively move toward technology in their pursuit of knowledge. Technology has now permeated every aspect of student life outside school, and the judicious use of technology in the classroom not only connects students to learning in ways they understand, it also assists them in the management of technology. Through the use of technology, students can learn to evaluate information, use technology in appropriate and effective ways and develop the critical thinking skills that will help them make the best possible use of technology."

Craig Lindvahl and Joe Fatheree wanted to celebrate the work and dedication of students in multimedia classes at Effingham and Teutopolis high schools. Students produced not only high-quality films, but also learned to work together and collaborate, offering advice and input to each other on a wide range of technical and creative matters. In 2003, the filmmakers and teachers created the AHA Film Festival. From a crowd of 150 the first year, the festival has grown into an event that sells out a 1,500 theater in Effingham and includes seminars hosted by industry professionals from Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis. Members of the multimedia class work the entire school year to plan and prepare for the festival and all proceeds fund much of the expense of the class and provide operating capital for the next year's festival.

In addition to the annual film fest, Effingham and Teutopolis multimedia students have been invited to attend prestigious film festivals such as the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, created short films featured in the Chicago International Children's Film Festival and collaborated with students in South Central Los Angeles to produce a film showcased at a United Nations conference in Paris.

Craig Lindvahl is the recipient of 12 Mid-America Emmy awards for producing, writing, camera work and composing. He received the Milken National Educator Award and was also awarded the Studs Terkel Award for contributions to the humanities.

In February, Joe Fatheree received the NEA's National Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2007, he was named the Illinois Teacher of the Year. As a filmmaker, he is the recipient of and three Mid-America Emmy award for producing and writing.