MAPS: Year End Round Up: New Faces, Promotions and Projects

2015 – 2016 was another banner year for the MAPS Media Institute. MAPS year end "Media Festival" at the Pharoahplex Theaters attracted record attendance of students, families and community members.

The festival also featured the debut of "EVERYBODY NEEDS LOVE" – a music video project sung, performed and produced 100% by MAPS students. It is featured on the MAPS website,

This past year, MAPS also received its share of awards: The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS NW) honored MAPS students with two "Awards of Excellence" for their Darby Rodeo and Darby Logger Days videos. Both videos were financed by the Montana Film Office and these honors are the equivalent of student EMMY awards.

In 2014 and now 2016, MAPS was recognized as one of the top 50 after school programs in the country by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH).

Lastly, MAPS CEO and Founder, Peter Rosten, was honored as "Bitterroot Business Person of the Year" by the Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce. Also, on June 3rd, Peter will be inducted into the NATAS, NW "Silver Circle". This recognition is awarded to media professionals who began their careers in television at least 25 years ago.

An exciting development for MAPS and Ravalli County is the re-start of a film program (during the school day) at Corvallis High School. After 6 years of great work, MAPS film teacher, Christian Ackerman, will leave MAPS to teach this new class starting September 2016.

Says Peter: "About a year ago Tim Johnson and I discussed bringing a MAPS type program back to Corvallis. In 2004, Corvallis was our first home and bringing it back is a long overdue way of saying "Thank You".

Christian’s departure is a win-win for all involved. MAPS is proud to announce Missoula filmmaker Dru Carr as the new MAPS film instructor. Dru received his M.S. in Environmental Studies from UM in 1996 and then co-founded the independent filmmaking team High Plains Films in 2000. He was nominated for a national News and Documentary Emmy Award in 2008 as the co-director of the film Libby, Montana, and received the True/False West Visionary Award, given to filmmakers who have "placed an indelible mark on the world of documentary filmmaking. He is also a founding board member of the Big Sky Film Institute, which runs the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

Dru will take over the film unit this summer during MAPS summer session that commences July 5th. Dru states: "MAPS has established a professional level for high school media arts programming, and I am honored to join this accomplished team. I’ve been producing films for the last 20 years. My goal as a part of MAPS will be to help young artists engage in, and view more critically, the world around them through the craft of filmmaking.

In September, one of Dru’s first class assignments will be the production of a "PEACE IN THE STREETS" video. MAPS has been invited to the international "Peace in the Streets Global Film Festival" for youth, 18 and under. The festival’s mission is to give youth creative opportunities to share their stories and affect peaceful change locally and globally.

Current MAPS staffers Clare Ann Harff and Tim Kolberg are receiving well-deserved promotions. Clare Ann Harff, along with her current duties as program director, design and entrepreneur instructor, will also become President of MAPS. Tim Kolberg (music and tech teacher) will be elevated to Vice President. These new executive duties and titles reflect their enormous contributions to the program’s growth and success.

As MAPS begins its 13th year of programming, many new projects are in the works, for example: MAPS was selected to be a host site for a national VISTA Service Member. The VISTA will assist in developing the curriculum for a new MAPS course, MAPS Works: Connecting Community Through Media Arts. This community based, service learning program will build on MAPS history of "pro bono work" and is specifically designed to actively engage MAPS student production crews in the Bitterroot community.

The pilot project for the MAPS Works program is documenting the Cultivating Connections Youth Farm Internship offered at Homestead Organics. This 11 week farm internship is offered to 6 Bitterroot Valley high school students throughout the summer. Each week, the students will tend, harvest and donate over 200 lbs. of fresh, local, organic produce to the Ravalli County Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program. MAPS will document the program from first day to last and will serve as a bridge connecting the art of growing food with the art of sharing stories.

Finally, for the second consecutive year, MAPS will host a summer program commencing July 5th. Unlike last year’s 10 week program, this session will be 4 weeks long and will be a specific project activity as opposed to a wide palette of student assignments.

For more information:

Clare Ann Harff
(406) 363-4824

[email protected]


Peter Rosten
(406) 821-3780
[email protected]

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