Advisor & Student Connection Pt-2
Over the years we have seen video productions from schools that, although they were not student conceived, have met the spirit of the Festival and include large rolls both in front of and behind the lens for student involvement. That is why there is a non-competitive / exhibition category on the Festival's entry form. These productions reflected the themes and values of the Festival and therefore were welcome inclusions.
This year we received three such entries, "Gifted" from Tandem Friends School, "For My Country" from George School and "No Phonies" from Brooklyn Friends School. We asked Paul Romano the Director and Producer of "No Phonies" to share his thoughts about the process.
On the Making of “No Phonies”
Every fall, Brooklyn Friends School ninth-graders read J. D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye in English class. What’s more, they then set out to follow in Holden Caufield's footsteps, exploring the many iconic New York City sites the notoriously defiant protagonist visits in the novel. This 2019-2020 school year was no exception. In fact, this was a very special year for the Catcher experience, because we caught it all on camera!
|Central Park Carousel|
What do you need to make a really cool short film that highlights an extraordinary learning experience? Well, first you need intelligent and innovative teachers who view the world as one big classroom. Next, you need trusting, curious students who are always game for experimentation and exploration. Finally, you need one shutter-happy chaperone who has a lot of love and respect for his colleagues and students alike.
|The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
I was that iPhone wielding chaperone, and I’ll tell you it’s not always easy to keep track of your students and take the photos and video needed to justly capture an experience as multidimensional as the Catcher in the Rye trip. If you’re lucky though, as I surely was, the best shots will come out of the perfect synergy of the dual role of chaperone/ cinematographer. For instance, a favorite shot of the piece was achieved when I was fulfilling the mundane duty of holding the door to the subway entrance so that the ninth grade could ride to our next destination. With one hand on the emergency exit door and the other wrapped around my XS, video rolling, I was able to advantageously capture the truest expressions of Holden’s angsty teen spirit on the faces of our students, as they filed by. Similarly, I was able to make the most of my position at the rear of the group, to snap hundreds of photos that would come to represent in a vividly colored montage, thanks to the fall foliage and technicolor threads of our students, the trajectory of our excursion. The result is that anyone who watches can retrace ours and Holden’s steps with ease!
Special thanks to BFS’s Director of Media Services and resident video-editor extraordinaire, Andy Cohen, who made this and makes everything we bring to him into nothing less than poetry in motion.
We’re sharing this video with you again so that you can remember a time in the very recent past in which the city was our oyster. We hope you will be inspired by revisiting this cell-phone free event, that was all documented on one rule-bending chaperone’s contraband device. We like to think that Holden would be proud!
US Coordinator of Experiential Learning
Brooklyn Friends School