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Video production class fulfills dream

May 21, 2007

Sierra High School’s “Whisper of Masha” took home top honors, winning the Comcast Acheivement Award as the SlickRock Film Festival on May 19. “Whisper of Masha”, a reenactment of a true story of World War II in Russian and German, also took home the award for best Foreign Language film, defeating Paige Powell and Meliss Foth’s “La Guerra Del Amor”.

McLane High School’s “Diet Cheaters” won the award for best Five-Minute Blockbuster, narrowly edging El Diamante’s Aisle 12, along with FC’s own “The Rift”, made by Mitchell Callisch and Matthew Stumpf.

“It was a lot of fun,” Stumpf said. “The emcee was great and livened up the mood. Everybody worked really hard, and it showed in their films. Many of the movies were really good, but Whisper of Masher blew the rest out of the water. I can’t wait to go again.”

Callisch was not too disappointed despite losing and plans on compteting again next year.

“SlickRock was helped me grow in my passion for movies, especially after being recognized at the festival,” Callisch said. “Now, after seeing my work on the big screen, I can make my films more professional. I will be more prepared for next year. SlickRock really motivated me and helped me grow in my passion for making movies.”

Powell agree with Callisch is already signed up for next year’s class.

“Though La Guerra Del Amor” did not win, attending the SlickRock Film Festival helped me to see new camera angles I can use in future projects,” Powell said. “Watching the other movies also inspired future scripts. I plan to participate in the SlickRock Film Festival in the future and start planning early so I will have more time to film, edit and perfect my next movie.”

Advisor C.J. Haydock helped put into perspective the afternoon.

“I was thrilled to observe a day of inspiring student films, and was pleased with the result,” Haydock said. “It was great to observe the standard top students across the Valley have set. And it is good to know that we thoroughly competed with those students.”

Argueably one of the most important aspects of the evening was for teacher and students to advance in creating direction for the class.

“The biggest area of growth for our students was being able to see their movies in a theatre,” Haydock said. “That really exposes every flaw and brings to light every raw piece. I think that was a powerful experience for our students as they grew exponentially in their self-critiquing and attention to detail.

“It was obvious throughout the day and night that we are already a top-tier school in our first year of participation. We know now what it takes to win. We are now more knowlegeable about the expectations the judges have. I believe we can win at least one of the categories, and at a minimum, compete for the Comcast Achievement Award.”

To see the movies “The Rift” and “La Guerra Del Amor”, visit The Feather Online Videos.

A filmmaker’s dream is to see his or her work presented to a large audience on the big screen and four students from C.J. Haydock’s video production class have earned the opportunity to see that dream realized.

Mitchell Callisch, ’09, and Mathew Stumpf, ’10, are finalists in the Five Minute Blockbuster division of the SlickRock Film Festival for their film titled, The Rift. Finalists in the Foreign Language Film category include Paige Powell, ’10, and Melissa Foth, ’08, for their movie, La Guerra Del Amor.

The Rift is a suspense thriller that follows a man who falls behind in time and tries to figure out what has happened and how to get back to normal. The comedy La Guera Del Amor tells the story of a man who wants to gain the acceptance of his new girlfriend?s father by lying about being a professional bullfighter.

The students’ films will be showcased at the Visalia Fox Theatre on May 19. The movies will start at 1 P.M., and the red carpet award ceremony will begin at 7 P.M. Selected films will be shown on Comcast Digital Cable, who sponsors the festival.

“We worked really hard on movie by logging numerous hours in the planning, filming and editing process,” Callisch said. “After all the hard work, it is very rewarding to be chosen as a finalist.”

The SlickRock Film Festival is the largest student film festival in the Central Valley with entries from many different public, private and charter schools. This year’s SlickRock Film Festival had over 175 entries in both the middle school and high school divisions.

“This year’s film entries were amazing, surpassing previous years in quantify of entries and more importantly quality of entries. Our judges commented on the huge improvement of overall quality from years past,” Scott Smith, SlickRock Film Festival Director said. “Because there were so many entries this year, the bar was raised and films had to be near perfect technically and compelling in content to qualify for an award nomination. Our judges included professional TV producers, published film critics and film teachers.”

Haydock states that the festival was the perfect opportunity to showcase the works of the video production class.

“Just for our students to be finalists in our first year of entry is phenomenal,” Haydock said. “It has a huge field of competitors with lots of ability and experience and to see our students compete with the best in the valley is certainly rewarding.”

All students in Haydock’s video productions class were required to submit a project to the festival as part of their semester grade.

“I required entry into the film festival for several reasons,” Haydock said. “First and foremost, I like the opportunity for our students to interact with those in the arts community as that breeds both creativity and connectivity. Secondly, I firmly believe in our student’s talents, gifts and abilities.”

For the students of the video production class, the festival provided them another opportunity to utilize various skills and techniques in their movies.

“I love producing films, and if this is something I am serious about pursuing, these are the kind of events I should participate in,” Powell stated. “I am really grateful for the nomination.”

While this may seem like the pinnacle of the young filmmaker’s careers, Haydock assures the best is still to come.

“If you look at the age of our students [one junior, one sophomore, and two freshmen] and the relative lack of experience, you realize the potential is limitless,” Haydock said. “This is the first step towards some really special films.”

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