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Flint Hill arts curriculum receives new addition with filmmaking course

Filmmaking+students+practicing+recording+sound.+Photo+credit%3A+Patrick+Lovelace
Filmmaking students practicing recording sound. Photo credit: Patrick Lovelace

Filmmaking students practicing recording sound. Photo credit: Patrick Lovelace

Filmmaking students practicing recording sound. Photo credit: Patrick Lovelace


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This fall, the Flint Hill Upper School has seen the addition of a new course with the arrival of Filmmaking. Ms. Huber, whose other courses include Digital Imaging and the graphic design classes, took on the responsibility of teaching the class and spoke about the new experience.

When asked about her drive in creating the new class, she said she was inspired by a filmmaking class that had been offered at the Upper School when she first joined the staff.

“We had a filmmaking class my first year,” said Huber. “But we only had three students in there, and it didn’t make the next semester, and it kind of disappeared for a while. It was more about editing it seemed, and it was more of a technical course.”

Huber credits the availability of Ms. Linda Okoth as another Digital Arts teacher as what gave her the freedom and availability to be able to take on Filmmaking, which is her fifth course.

The filmmaking students prepare for their first shots on their short film project. Photo credit: Patrick Lovelace

Huber has a very simple philosophy when it comes to filmmaking.

“You have to study good movies in order to create movies,” she says. “You have to understand what makes good design before you can create it yourself. Because the goal of the course is to understand the process [of filmmaking], but also to create, some of that has to be done out of the classroom. I wasn’t quite sure how the assignments were going to play out.”

One of the first activities Huber gave to her students was a storyboard, which is a common tool that filmmakers use when laying out how a story will be filmed. She had her students listen to a recording of her brother telling a story, and the students worked in pairs to create different storyboards for how they would turn the story into a film.

In her mind, that was the end of that activity, but it ended up turning into much more.

“That was the end of that, in my mind, but seeing Christian [Turner, then a Filmmaking student] in the hall, and him saying ‘we have to make that movie,’ I was like, ‘I thought so too!’ So, I think it’s fun to let student interest and enthusiasm drive the curriculum.”

Since that suggestion, the storyboards based on the story told by Huber’s brother has morphed into the class’s largest project, and the students are currently collaborating on writing a script for their short film adaptation. Huber is hopeful that shooting will begin within the next few weeks.

Although Huber is credited as the teacher for the class, she gives credits to many others for helping create the curriculum and expose students to all sides of the film industry.

“When we pulled this class together, it was Mr. Copenhaver, Ms. Davis, Ms. Starnes, and myself,” said Huber. “That’s where it came together from the school, and I’m sort of the lead teacher on the course. This summer, I tapped into some of the talent that I know in the [film] industry, and I got some ideas from friends that work in the film industry as to possible projects, possible scenes to talk about, writing strategies, and things like that.”

The class sets up an interior sequence of shots. Photo credit: Patrick Lovelace

The “talent” to which Huber refers is the Gunn family, most well-known for director James Gunn who became wildly successful with his Marvel films Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2. However, he is not the only member of the family in the industry. His brother Sean is an actor and appears in those films, and his brothers Matt and Brian are both writers for film and TV. Matt Gunn’s short film Man About Town won the Short Filmmaking Award at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, and he has also worked for years as a writer for Real Time with Bill Maher. Earlier this year, the class watched his short film and FaceTimed him to ask him whatever questions they had to learn more about filmmaking and the industry. Huber has something planned with Brian Gunn for later in the semester, and also plans for the students to receive an acting lesson from an actress whom Huber knows.

 

Filmmaking students will be presenting many of their projects at the Spring Visual Arts Show, although Huber anticipates that there may be too many projects too present all of them.

Huber is extremely enthusiastic about the class and optimistic for the future. “[This class has] a beautiful group of kids right now. The class is amazing. The enthusiasm and variety of talents and perspectives is really fascinating. It’s been super fun to teach.”

 

  1. The filmmaking students prepare for their first shots on their short film project.
  2. The class sets up an interior sequence of shots.
  3. Filmmaking students practicing recording sound.
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Flint Hill arts curriculum receives new addition with filmmaking course