Next month’s Casco Bay High School Film Festival at USM will include films high school students have done over the years, including during the annual film making intensive and Junior Journey service trips. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — Casco Bay High School is celebrating its 15th anniversary next month with a special film festival that will bring together the work of current and former students.

The Casco Bay High School Film Festival, a culmination of 15 years of student film making, is set to take place from 6-8:30 p.m.  Feb. 7  at Hannaford Hall at the University of Southern Maine.

“We were thinking of how to mark the (anniversary) and probably more than any other high school, our students have been involved in significant video production work and thought this was an interesting way to mark student excellence,” said Derek Pierce, principal of the expeditionary learning high school.

Filmmaking has been a large focus for the school, which opened with 80 freshmen in September 2005 and today has close to 400 students in ninth to 12th grade.

The festival will showcase creative films students have created over the years as part of the school’s film intensives, as well as documentaries created during annual Junior Journey service trips. The event will also feature films alumni have created after their time at Casco Bay High School.

“It’s a great way to present the school and show how creative we are,” said senior Alexia Bellas. “We love to make things and this is a fun way to show one aspect of that.”

Bellas was part of the team that reviewed the more than 60 student films that were submitted for consideration.

“It was very interesting to see how the films evolved and changed as the classes evolved and changed,” she said.

While many of the films that will be showcased were created as part of Casco Bay High School coursework, some films, including one made by senior Uther Dadaleares, were created outside of school.

“The film I submitted is one I did right before Christmas. I was challenging myself to make a movie that didn’t have dialogue and used visual elements and movement to tell the story,” Dadaleares said.

His black and white film tells the journey of a single bright blue flower and the power a simple kind gesture can have as it makes its way from person to person.

Dadaleares said he has been making films for most of his life and is looking to major in film production after he graduates from Casco Bay High School at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts or perhaps attend Southern Maine College or the University of Southern Maine if he decides to stay more local.

“The more I did, the more I found I had a passion for it,” he said.

For more information or for tickets visit the event’s Facebook page

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