St. Albert web series screened at Edmonton Short Film Festival

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Every kid seems to have a cellphone or tablet. However, nine-year-old Sabrina Anderson has taken technology one step further.

With the assistance of her mother, Miriam, she’s created a science-based educational web series that taps into children’s natural curiosity about the world.

In each Did You Know With Sabrina episode, the Grade 4 Muriel Martin student delivers scientific fact and fun trivia on animals, people and food.

Sitting at her dining room table dressed in a signature pink anchorwoman jacket and overly large glasses, she delivers scripts news-style with a sprinkling of humour and a dollop of charm.

It’s a team effort. Sabrina researches, writes her script and gives her pitch. Meanwhile, Mom films each episode on her cell and uploads them to YouTube. So far 18 episodes averaging two minutes are available for viewing.

Her friends and classmates are 100 per cent behind the effort.

“They like the jokes. It felt like it made them smarter, and they said they are funny and I should make more,” Sabrina says.

The educational web series also caught the eye of the Edmonton Short Film Festival taking place this weekend. Sabrina will screen her caterpillar episode at the free Family Fun Fest portion tomorrow afternoon at the Royal Alberta Museum.

“She is adorable,” says festival director Sharlene Millang. “Her personality absolutely shines through. Every time you watch her with those big glasses you smile. This is children teaching children and she’s done a lot of research. She’s so cute.”

Sabrina latched onto the idea of producing a web series in the summer of 2015 as a way to develop confidence and share things she was learning.

She is also an actress and has been cast in local films and commercials. At the time, Sabrina was preparing to audition for a horror movie, The Red Hollow, and all actors needed to send in a self-taped audition.

“When you do an audition, you have to show your personality,” notes Miriam. To increase her daughter’s confidence, the two hit on the concept of shooting a news-style educational demo.

The first YouTube episode was about a gigantic zucchini discovered growing in her friend’s back yard. It weighed nine lbs. and garnered 306 views.

“From the first episode, I was scared people wouldn’t like it. But now that it’s grown popular, I’m pretty confident,” Sabrina says.

All the episodes deal with her environment. However, they’ve grown in scope from cupcakes, whales, trees and dogs to pirates, dinosaurs, sloths and puffer fish. She’s even experimented with self-tickling and chopping onions.

Her next episode will feature the ever popular and trendy Pokémon Go.

The Family Fun Fest runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with screenings and all-age activities. Sabrina screens Did You Know between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. followed by a short Q and A.

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Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.