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Published March 30th, 2011
5th Annual AUHSD Film Festival Coming Soon
By Rebecca Eckland
Julia Anderson, Sydney Liu and Kyle Merryman, all sophomores at Campolindo High School, as they work on a film project in their Video 2 class. Photo R.A.Eckland

On April 15th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., students from Campolindo, Miramonte, Acalanes and JM Intermediate schools will be featured on "the red carpet" of the Fifth Annual Lamorinda Acalanes Union Film Festival at the Campolindo Performing Arts Center. Roughly twenty short films will be screened; what the films will be about is only limited by the imaginations and creative impulses of the students who produce them.
Justin Seligman, Video instructor at Campolindo High School (and Festival Coordinator), says that on any given day his students are producing a total of thirty short films. Seligman pauses to do the math: "That's five classes, six to ten projects per class, so yes, thirty films a day."
He gives his students many different film types to work on, not simply the narrative-driven pieces one might expect. So far, his students have tackled various genres and styles: the silent film, musicals, sitcoms, the safety films you have to watch at certain jobs, infomercial and film noir, to name a few. "Some programs focus on personal narratives (personal editorials using film as medium) - this one focuses less on that. This type of program gives students a broad spectrum of approaches and allows them to dabble in areas that interest them. In the industry today, until you make it 'big' in Hollywood, you have to have a large skill set in independent film making. You have to know how to shoot film, how to act, how to manipulate what you've shot." You have to be, to use a term Segilman taught this reporter, a "preditor" - that is, a producer/editor/actor.
Sophomore Julia Anderson wants to be a director one day, but for now is enjoying nearly all aspects of Seligman's curriculum, especially film editing. She took part in the film festival last year, winning an award for an infomercial on her invented product, "Port-A-Pants." Anderson explains: "We had to make up a product that didn't exist; so I thought, how great would it be to put stuff in your pocket to transport it somewhere else?" Right now she, as everyone in the class, is filming a sitcom.
Kyle Merryman, also a sophomore, is directing a sitcom that critiques the conventions in shows like "I Love Lucy." His project, "Gettin' Jiggy with It," has characters (played by students from the drama department) which include a cheating husband and a crazy, old-fashioned grandpa. "I love directing," says Merryman, "and I always watch the Oscars."
Eighty to one-hundred students will be involved in this year's film festival. The selection of which films/students to include will be made by Seligman and a few of his advanced students. Each film will be a "short" and last between one and five minutes. Also featured will be music by Jazztastic Voyage as well as several student DJs. Entrance is $5.00.
"The program has grown so much in five years," said Seligman who cites generous community support as one major cause. Sponsors such as the Moraga Education Foundation, Campolindo Parents Club, and Contra Costa County Regional Occupational Program, among others, have provided the necessary financial assistance to keep the films rolling.


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