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2nd Annual Dublin High School Film Festival Coming May 19, Showcases Growing Video Production Program

May 13, 2016

To a relatively small group of students at Dublin High School, none of this came as a big surprise. However, to some of their fellow Gaels and patrons, something like this could not have been anticipated. Led by teacher Michael D’Ambrosio, the fledgling Video Production program (both sections of them) staged an ambitious, yet wildly successful film festival last year at the Center for Performing Arts & Education. The evening had the vibe of a Hollywood premiere. The theater was packed and those without a seat viewed the screening from adjacent studio and classroom monitors. The audience was treated to a night of sensational work that was all student-produced.

So, how does one explain the virtual “explosion” of a program and its exponential growth? The current academic year included four sections of instruction and it will then expand to five sections in 2016-17. The 2nd Annual DHS Film Festival will occur on Thursday, May 19th. A myriad of events celebrating the arts will happen on the same evening. However, the doors will open at 6:30 PM with the full performance starting at 7:00 PM. In order to answer the previous question, OneDublin.org reached out to the Dublin High School “wizard” of video production, Michael D’Ambrosio, to gain some perspective.

DHS Film Festival Group

OneDublin.org: As we have previously discussed, the rapid explosion of the Video Production program. In less than three years, it will have grown from two, to four and now five sections in 2016-17.  To what do you attribute this incredible growth?

DHS Film Festival MichaelMichael D’Ambrosio: “I think the students have grown to love the work that their fellow peers are doing in the weekly Video Bulletin and enjoy seeing their hard work in the films in the film festival. This class really allows the students to be creative and think outside the box and I think students share that information outside the classroom.”

OneDublin.org: While it is not a competition, the finalization for the Film Festival required a process.  Please explain the process and how your colleagues were able whittle the selections down to the final six to be screened. 

D’Ambrosio: “Last year, there were 15 submissions for the film festival which included both individual and group films. This year we had 51 submissions so it was important to make sure that there was a process in place. I, myself, watched all 51 films and knocked it down to about 17. The next step was involving teachers and administration to help judge which films would be in the film festival. The judges were given a rubric that had them look for certain criteria as well, as a given avenue to share their thoughts about the overall films. The process went well into the night and the discussion was awesome to see. The judges really took their jobs seriously and I am so grateful for their help.”

OneDublin.org:  The students certainly need consistency and structure for content.  Please explain your philosophy in providing a creative platform that would also respect the integrity of the process. 

D’Ambrosio: “This is an ongoing process for the class. There are many times where the students have ideas and we collaborate in small groups, as a class, and with me personally. This allows for us to discuss the target audience, as well as what is appropriate. This continues as the segments are created for the Video Bulletin, as well as during the process and creation of their films throughout the year.”

OneDublin.org:  In terms of visual quality, you had made a comment about “using technology to its capacity.”  Please be specific and help us to understand these advancements – even year over year. 

D’Ambrosio: “The students continue to push the envelope when it comes to technology in my classroom. I think that when the viewers watch the pieces that are in the film festival, you will see what I am referring to. We also introduced new editing software this year that has allowed students to be using industry-type editing software which has been amazing to see as a teacher. The students are using their knowledge of the software to work on outside projects for other classes, which is a great asset to them. The students are constantly coming up with creative ways to get the message they are trying to promote out to the school.”

OneDublin.org: Anything else that you would like to add?

D’Ambrosio: “I really do hope that people come to the film festival and see the amount of work that these students have put into their films. Viewers will get to see six films as well as something we are calling “Images of the Year” which is a compilation of video, pictures, and much more, which took more than just our class to put together. This can only be seen if you come to the festival. It really showcases what DHS is all about. Unfortunately, not all the films that were created will be shown that night, but as a teacher I feel so lucky to have watched all their films, and just how far they have come since August. Many of the students in this class are first year students and their efforts are endless. We really hope to see you at the Film Festival on May 19th. It starts at 7pm with doors opening at 6:30. The Evening of the Arts begins at 5:30pm with food, music, art and more. Make sure to get their early…and YES, it’s FREE!”

We’ve attached a trailer link to whet your appetite. Please keep in mind that these films have not been rated.  Please note that films may contain adult situations containing street violence and/or illicit drugs.  Any such adult content is presented in an educational context that appears designed to discourage street violence and/or illegal drug-related activities.

On the heels of a wildly successful run of the stage production of “In the Heights”, we would like to encourage your continued celebration of the arts at Dublin High School. We were given a sneak peak of footage beyond the trailer and the production values are nothing short of dazzling. OneDublin.org would also like to extend our gratitude to Michael D’Ambrosio for sharing his insights and enthusiasm about the upcoming event. See you on the red carpet.

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