NATCHEZ – The Natchez Adams School Board of Trustees recently presented a great honor to one of its teaching artists.
Mark LaFrancis, artist teaching at the Fallin Career and Technology Center, received the Thad Cochran Distinguished Media Arts Educator Award, an award sponsored by the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education. LaFrancis teaches film and photography in the Digital Media Technology program at Fallin. He works with students in the class with instructor Laveria Green, who received an award from the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education, a private, non-profit organization that promotes arts education statewide.
âIt helps them develop a love and passion for film and photography,â said Cleveland Moore, director of Fallin. âSo we would like to honor him and thank him for all the work he has done at Fallin and in the Natchez community. “
Green said of LaFrancis: âYou are doing a great job. You are a great teaching artist.
LaFrancis works with students to learn the basics of composition and photo editing. The students produced three exhibits, one of which, âShadow Stories,â is on display at the Judge George W. Armstrong Library. Photography students are creating a new exhibition.
It also teaches students the fundamentals of filmmaking and editing, including the use of green screen technology. Several students have won cinema prizes in regional and national competitions.
âIt’s an honor to work with the Fallin students,â said LaFrancis. “They adapt quickly and are very creative.”
LaFrancis has been a teaching artist at Fallin for four years. Previously, he taught film and photography at Adams County Christian School. He is retired from Copiah-Lincoln Community College, where he taught, among other things, film and photography. Several of the student films won awards in state competitions.
This is her second award named after the late United States Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss., An avid patron of the arts and humanities. He received the inaugural Thad Cochran Humanities Achievement Award for his documentaries and those of his Co-Lin students “Richard Wright: a Force for Right” and “Eudora Welty: Woman of the World, Daughter of Mississippi”, which was presented in premiere at Natchez Literary and cinematographic festival.
Independent filmmaker LaFrancis directed and co-produced the award-winning documentary “The Parchman Ordeal: The Untold Story”, which won several awards at film festivals. He and his team are currently in pre-production for another Civil Rights Era film “Women of Struggle: Confronting Fear in the Civil Rights Era”.