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Students Pair with Pros in KCSM Spotlight!
by Roger Rose
Students Pair with Pros And The Winner Is Melody Miller, of San Leandro High, for both directing and editing, and Cameron Vaughan (shown in inset), of Foothill High, for special effects. photo KCSM
Late last month, I enjoyed the debut of KCSM-TV's new Spotlight! series, in which each half-hour show joins a pair of student filmmakers with one of the Bay Area's most successful film professionals.
KCSM's 13 half-hour shows welcome 26 local high-schoolers, including seven winners in the 3rd Annual Spotlight! High School Video Competition. Hosted by Angie Coiro, the show feature the students' three-to-five minute films and a behind-the-scenes view of filmmaking - enjoyable for those of us who have been there. The students, many of whom won the Spotlight! video competition, share their perspectives with award-winning actors, directors, cinematographers, writers, and other successful pros. In turn, the pros offer their views on the students' work and filmmaking in general.
Marin resident and noted actor Peter Coyote and award-winning cinematographer Hiro Narita will appear in later episodes, joined on the series' lineup by a host of other filmmakers to offer advice on the students' future projects.
A Bay Area audience of about 73,000 watched prop master Sean House sharing insights with Jasper Anderson and Julia Glausi on "Getting That Certain Look" with sets and props. Calling it an "exciting local show," House (also president of the Bay Area Film Alliance and an Oakland Film Center member) continued, "and it should be exciting to... everyone," especially those of us who stay "afterwards at festivals for the Q&A with the directors."
The hyper House (too much coffee?) was fun to watch, explaining how he made the props used in "The Darwin Awards," "Pursuit of Happiness," and "Milk." The students' films had interesting use of props or set deco, so the matchup worked well.
Each of the half-hour shows carries a cute title: "The Sweetest Sound," "The Story Train," "Motivating Actors," "An Indie Spirit," "Location, Location, Location!" "Picture Perfect Cinematography," "Not Just Cartoons!" "Cutting for Real," and "The Documentary - Media that Matters." Other local film pros participating:
¥ Pixar producer Brad Lewis ("Ratatouille")
¥ Screenwriter Terrel Seltzer ("One Fine Day")
¥ Location manager Rory Enke ("The Pursuit of Happiness")
¥ Visual effects wizard and animator Webster Colcord ("Pirates of the Caribbean")
¥ Sound designer Andrea Gard ("Beowulf")
¥ VFX digital supervisor Michael Sanders ("Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince")
¥ Documentarian Gary Weimberg ("Soldiers of Conscience")
¥ Editor Ken Schneider ("Speaking in Tongues")
¥ Indie producer Kari Nevil ("The Gift: At Risk")
¥ VFX supervisor Dave Codeglia ("Street Fighter: The Later Years")
At the College of San Mateo's Theater last spring, the Spotlight Award-winners' short films were shown to an appreciative audience of several hundred. "On the series, we'll show the student films, giving them exposure that most students can't get," says KCSM producer/director Katherine Russell. "In most cases, our audience is more than likely to get on YouTube."
Many of the students helped get the word out by posting direct links from their MySpace and Facebook accounts to the station's Website, as well as Twittering about their experiences in the studio during the filming. Russell adds: "Next year we'll add a 'Best Documentary' category to the film festival. And in the meantime, we anticipate that viewers will also like our new Youth Cinema series, which will air in conjunction with the Spotlight! series."
Posted on Nov 03, 2009 - 05:39 PM