November 2022 – Drew University recently hosted students from Orange High School to take part in a three-day filmmaking bootcamp, FilmBoot24.
The program was sponsored by Drew Civic Engagement, Cinema Ed, Valley Arts, Discover Jersey Arts, and Orange Public Schools.
Students were divided into six teams and given film themes that included economics, taking a stand, and science. Each group received a professional camera and equipment. Teams were thrown a twist when they were told they had to include a bucket as one of the props in their films.
On Friday, students and their mentors—members of the education and arts communities—brainstormed their themes, coming up with characters, plots, and scripts.
On Saturday, the challenge of producing a short film in 24 hours began, as teams started filming early in the morning and worked through the end of the day to edit their films. Students were dispersed all over campus, filming in the Commons, outside the library, in and out of Brothers College, and numerous other areas.
Team 1’s film concentrated on the widespread effects of capitalism, under their team theme of economics. One Team 1 student noted that it was important to exemplify not only the divide that capitalism presents between low- and high-income individuals, but also how they can help each other in times of need.
Team 2 concentrated on the theme of taking a stand, focusing on businesses where employees weren’t receiving fair treatment. The team was also the only Spanish-speaking team and chose to add subtitles into their film, allowing for both Spanish and English speakers to enjoy their project.
Other teams used a horror aesthetic to exemplify what happens when science goes wrong, with an added dash of comedy (Team 3); illustrated the economic impact of a con artist scamming individuals with fake iPhone 16’s (Team 4); employed a Law & Order themed plot, dealing with forensic science and investigation, again with humor woven in (Team 5); and showed how to combat issues like eating disorders, pregnancy, abortion, and bullying (Team 6).
On Sunday, all six films were shown on Zoom and awards were given to the top two teams by professional film directors Terry Jackson, Justice Jamal Jones, and Susan Greeley.
Team 6 received first place for their, “ability to show real world issues effectively and polished filmatic shots.” Team 5 landed second place due to their “great acting and interesting and smooth plot.” The judges praised all teams for having done a phenomenal job within the 24-hour time constraint.
In just a three-day span, with one particularly-packed 24-hour stretch, Filmboot24 taught high schoolers the technicalities of film, let them use their creativity, and gave them a truly unique experience.
This story was written by Drew student Rachel Herrera C’22, a sociology and political science double major and a women’s and gender studies minor.
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