A Student Run Film Society:
There is so much talent and passion at Tse’Yi’Gai and I wanted to facilitate an extracurricular arena for students to take advantage of that. The film society was established as an after school group that discussed films, wrote scripts, and organized their first major event, the Tse’Yi’Gai film festival.
Filmmaking is the sum of all art forms so I set out to broaden my students ideas of what some of those art forms are. Over the course of the year I invited guests to discuss their perspective on film. Guests All Kicker’s Ron Williams, who discussed fight coordination and choreography. We also had documentary filmmaker and Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense graduate Megan Stahl. Near the end of the school year we were treated to a week of acting workshops and exercises by NYU grad and professional actor Brinda Dixit. All of these presentations offered perspective and inspiration for the film projects we would make in class ahead of our end of year film festival.
A New Workspace:
Two years prior to the start of this program the arts department was closed due to budget cuts. Consequently the art room had been utilized as a storage room. During the first semester of this film class we operated from a traditional classroom. After communicating with the administration I was given the go ahead to make use of the art room if I clear it out. I explained this to the students and said it would take many weekends for me to clear it out and they asked, “if we help, can we get it done sooner?” And that’s exactly what happened. All 65 students joined me in donating two days of their time and we made the entire art room into a filmmaking workspace.
Professional Editing Suite:
Though we worked with a great DSLR to shoot our projects, we didn’t have the resources for a proper editing station. I sought to rectify that. I found an un-utilized lockable desk at school, the school was kind enough to spare a monitor and I scrounged enough spare parts as well as bought a few odds and ends to build a computer from scratch. Not only were we were able to edit projects on a fast machine that could create films as quickly as we made them but I lead a special day teaching the students how to build a custom computer for better performance.
A Year of Film Education:
A successful year of academic achievement across an array of film modules enriched 65 students across 5 classes. Each week the students were invited to reflect on their experiences and discuss what they learned here is a compilation of those reflections.
Dine Knowledge Bowl:
Tse’Yi’Gai High School was represented in the Dine Knowledge Bowl in Shiprock; competing in multiple categories. As the event was going on the students were permitted to conduct interviews and invited to the control room and actually document the event! It provided them with experience covering live shows, something we can’t typically offer in the classroom.
Student Film Festival
After a year of film education, the students compiled all their knowledge and produced several film projects that were showcased at the 1st annual Tse’Yi’Gai film festival. Students, staff, and members of the community showed up in support of the filmmakers. We also received give away prizes from Kodak and Audio-Technica for competitions and games on the day of.
Feature Film Concept:
In addition to a year long commitment in the classroom, Filmmakers Without Borders, has creative assignments for their fellows. The year concluded with a feature film concept. In June 2016 the concept was successfully funded to create proof-of-concept sequences that are being used to leverage a greater proposal to produce the feature film project. Learn more about the project here: