Wanted: Movie-makers, Screenwriters, Actors

Maya Amjadi/News Editor

Cedar Falls High School is holding its first Tiger Film Festival ever this year on April 16 in the auditorium, and entries are due March 21. The event invites students to create their own movies, which will be publicly shown at the high school, showcasing students’ creative work.

Possible submissions include documentaries, interpretations of literary work and original screenplays. Social Studies teacher Chad Van Cleve is leading this project.

“You get people who write their own scripts. [I’ve seen] reinterpretations of the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene as well,” Van Cleve, Film Festival adviser, said. He has also seen students create their own music videos to popular songs or music they create.

Van Cleve started the Film Festival at other schools as well. At Dubuque Senior, where he previously taught, the Film Fest event has grown so much that now students’ films are viewed in a movie theater on a big screen. “Students have so much talent.It’s really neat because [with the Film Fest] they get a bigger audience to view their films rather than putting it up on Youtube and only getting viewers from telling their friends or family to watch it,” he said.

Van Cleve is receiving help from other teachers on staff to make the event a success. Librarian Kim Traw is setting up the submissions. Other teachers aboard this project are librarian Kristi Anhalt; TAG teacher Tim Kangas; English teachers Brian Winkel, Michelle Rathe and Matt Klemesrud; science teacher Scott Bohlmann; and art teacher Lisa Klenske.

“I don’t have great editing or technical skills, and I don’t know different camera angles,” Van Cleve said, “but we can steer [the participants] in the right direction to find actors and resources, such as access to a green screen.”

Films must range from 30 seconds to 15 minutes. A panel will first view all submissions and only the top films will be shown at the Film Fest. The first time Van Cleve helped put on a film show, he received 27 applicants, but time permitted only nine be shown. Films will be judged on the delivery of the message, the use of technology/technological merit, the creativity and approach in delivering the message and overall impression.

The experience Van Cleve has in this area comes from his work in providing a city wide Film Fest for all Dubuque high schools, as well as work overseas with students from other countries using video. “I enjoy film. This opportunity is a venue for students to show off what they can do.If technology communicates, film communicates thoughts about society,” he said. He is hoping students will promote this event, and ideally students will produce it.

In the past, schools have decided to theme the event based on the Oscars. Van Cleve said students wore tuxedos from Goodwill and past prom or homecoming dresses complete with a red carpet rolled out on the floor. “None of this is done to make money. There is no budget. It is solely to promote student work.” Because Van Cleve has done this before, he is willing to help with ideas. “One year students spray painted Barbies gold as a symbolic gesture of the Oscars,” Van Cleve said.

The Film Fest will contain different categories to be determined once submissions are in and reviewed.Winners will receive a prize still to be determined. Overall, however, the recognition participants receive by having their films screened will be the biggest reward. From his experience, Van Cleve said the first year is a starting year; after two more years, films start getting more complex. “Students see what their peers can do, so they try to make their films even better.”

Further opportunities have come out of the film fest. One boy who spent 14 hours creating a film on possessed light sabers received a summer internship at Loras College where he got to use higher level technologies.

Also, students who don’t usually work together now have the opportunity to get together and work on something they all enjoy.

For individuals interested in drama and plays, the experience of acting for the festival shows them that acting live and acting in film are two completely different things.

Van Cleve said, “Films of high quality are produced and it makes for a really fun night.”

Class of 2014

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