Sunday, May 08, 2005

Movie Sauce Film Fest created by CMHS students

Some 150 people attended the MovieSauceFilmFest Saturday afternoon at Fairfield Studios. The fest was a two-hour show of filmmaking by Caddo Magnet High students. This phenomenon arrives with a question: what's the origin of all this video energy?

"There's been a paradigm shift in student expression," opined CMHS teacher Danny Gayer 4 years ago. Quite a few of the students showing craftily edited videos yesterday were seniors; Gayer spotted the trend when they were freshmen. Instead of putting on a skit during a Fall festival, the Class of 2005 leadership group offered an MTV-style video.

Additional reasons why Caddo Magnet HS is beginning to be a catalyst for future filmmakers:

* a strong drama department; many of the actors in the student shorts are learning acting from the vigorous program led by teacher Betty Walker.
* English teachers encourage video production as a project. Chief among these teachers is Jeremy Jinks, teacher of English 4. His students' Shakespearean film projects have been popular. Students with no video background often team with experienced classmates. Hours are expended outside of class in writing, filming and editing. Additional teachers encouraging video projects are Ayasha Combest and William Knox.
* Picasso Digital Arts Club has weekly meetings at school. The meetings give students an opportunity to show their works in progress and get feedback. They have time to mull script and production ideas and make plans. Hunter Carter and Evan Falbaum have been mainstays, often offering their recent work as an instructional session. The club was formed by Robert Trudeau and Neill Normand and has been aided by Danny Gayer and William Knox.
* Maecenas Society is a group of parents who have made significant contributions to the school's technology tools inventory. They've bought computers for classrooms, library and special programs. The eMacs they bought for Trudeau's classroom have seen steady use as editing centers.
* CMTV, the school's in-house video news and entertainment group, is a daily class. Students with the most dynamic film energy vie for spots on the CMTV team. The entertainers and journalists of the future are developing their skills on CMTV's Maecenas-supplied Macintosh computers and Sony cameras.

On the subject of the student-made, independent Movie Sauce Film Fest, Hunter Carter replies:

We plan to make this happen twice a year -- once in fall, once in the spring -- because we think we'll have enough content to warrant that. We had to cut a lot of entries out for time and redundancy, and there were a slew of high-quality movies that my online filmmaker friends wanted to enter but didn't have enough time to get a DVD together to ship it here. We actually had some people who would've flown in from all accross the country (and one guy in Germany) to see their movies play at this -- that's how much support and energy there was surrounding this. Had we only had more than 3 weeks' notice, we could've pulled that off. We'll just save those entries for the next one. So sure, yes, we plan to make this an ongoing event. Most of us will be only a few hours away - at SMU, LSU, and Tech, mainly. More plans will be made about future iterations of MSFF on, and eventaully posted on


Brett Roman said...

If I had teachers as dedicated as the ones you mentioned when I went to school, then I would not have dropped out. Keep it up, hopefully by the time my sons go to high school, these type of creative programs will be common.

Thinkingmom said...

Brother, I second that! I consider myself lucky that there is still a music program at my son's elementary school!

dgayer said...

Impressive program at an impressive, creative school...and to think that none of this is a function of the required comprehensive curriculum--hmmm!