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“One Last Time” for Dublin High School Video Production Film Festival

May 13, 2019

DUBLIN, CA–In the spirit of Avengers: Endgame, all good things do come to an end. According to Video Production instructor, Michael D’Ambrosio, the May 17th screening of the Annual DHS Film Festival will be the fifth and final iteration of this series. While tickets for this one-night only event sold out in less than two minutes, a live stream will be available on gaelsvb.com. It is somewhat bittersweet as OneDublin.org has chronicled the development of this program since its inception in 2014 and the initial film festival screening in Spring, 2015. What started with 15 short video pieces that involved about 40 students has grown into a class that includes five sections and an advanced video production class that focused solely on long form layout.

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Along the way, the program has taken ownership of the filming of “Every 15 Minutes” for both Dublin High School and for Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton. The students have injected new breath into the daily video bulletin. In addition, their improved equipment/technology has allowed them to livestream DHS sporting events. The opportunity to explore film has motivated a number of graduates to continue their passion of the subject in post-secondary education. For many, the program has represented a bridge between technology and the creative arts. In the end, hundreds of students were able to take part in a mind-expanding experience that promoted creative freedom.

In honor of this final film festival, OneDublin.org sat down with a pair of film makers that devoted a fair portion of their senior year to the development of one of the featured long form pieces, “Oasis on Earth”. Our discussion with Tyler Revak and Matthew Reed was both enlightening and entertaining.

OneDublin.org: For “Oasis on Earth” please explain where the principal filming was conducted. How did you go about putting together a cast and crew?

Tyler Revak: “The whole process of filming Oasis has been a major headache. Aside from having to coordinate with all eight of our actors, we also had to make sure we were able to film at the varying locations we chose for our movie. I remember driving around with Matt from gas station to gas station, asking their managers if we could turn their convenience store into a movie set for a few hours. The aspect of filming that was most difficult, was making sure that our movie felt unique. We didn’t want to film any scenes near Dublin, because for the past four years, there hasn’t been a movie that has felt far away from home that is felt mysterious and uncharted. Choosing our crew was pretty simple, as we just made groups in class based off of the three most popular movie ideas, but the cast was far harder. For about the first five months of working on this project we were looking for actors and used Mr. D’Ambrosio’s connections to help us find people who were willing to commit to tour film. I am so grateful for the amazing cast that we were able to work with as they volunteered countless hours in order to make our vision become a reality.”

OneDublin.org: Since “Oasis on Earth” was in the long format category, what was your thought process in terms of editing such a lengthy piece?

Matthew Reed: “Despite having a lot of experience editing videos, I’ve rarely edited videos that last longer than three minutes. I initially figured filming and editing a long narrative would be as simple as scaling up everything I knew about producing short videos, but I was not prepared at all for what was the reality of editing a 45-minute long movie. After attempting to edit the first two shooting days’ footage, I promptly realized that a project of this size would require a completely different approach and perspective. Continuity between scenes – which could have been filmed weeks apart was exponentially more difficult to keep track of. Music choice was more than picking a single song; it was sifting through hundreds of songs to find dozen or so that felt like they portrayed a consistent and accurate tone. With five layers of video, seven layers of audio and 200 gigabytes of imported clips in one project, my computer became frustratingly slow as well. Editing nearly a thousand clips, each with sound design and color grading took all the persistence I could muster. The day before the film was due, I worked on “Oasis on Earth” for 24 hours straight along with Tyler. I’m honestly exhausted from this experience, but I’m proud and thankful for the lessons I’ve learned in perseverance, time management and commitment.”

OneDublin.org: After two years in the Video Production program, what experiences will you most remember from this time?

Revak: “The experiences I will remember most from my time in the Video Production program are the ones where I was able to bond over a common love for filmmaking with my classmates. The times where we would stay up input the early morning hours, editing and joking around with each other, the times where we would be filming in random locations in the middle of the night and the times where we would have casual conversations with Mr. D are going to have a special place in my heart. The most memorable moment though, is when I had to jump in a dirty river at Emerald Glen in order to complete the last scene of the Halloween edition of the Dublin High VB. I’m going to miss everyone in our class and I want them to know how much I care.”

OneDublin.org: Please describe some highlights during your three years in the Video Production program.

Reed: “Video Production has given me some of my favorite moments from high school. One of the most surprising and fulfilling aspects that I’ve taken away from the program is that video is an artistic medium that allows you to express any range of emotion you want to. That’s why my favorite memories from the Video Production program include making videos of all different kinds of genres and in multiple settings. My first favorite memory is filming my very first “Cocoa for Carpool” promotional video with my friends. We created a rap song that promoted the event and recorded a comedic music video for the video bulletin that not only highlighted the event but, highlighted our personalities and sense of humor.

“That’s when I realized that video production was a uniquely liberating form of expression at school: it was an opportunity to show a side of myself that I couldn’t in any other class. Another favorite memory is from editing “Every Fifteen Minutes” for Amador Valley High School. The 10 of us students and Mr. D’Ambrosio, who worked on the project stayed up until 4:00 AM editing, hanging out, goofing around, and editing some more. It was a really nice bonding experience and cool way to see what each individual student filmmaker brought to the table through their work. My final highlight (although I could keep going endlessly if I needed to) was the 2017 film festival. My film “Ode to Earth” showcased my passion for filmmaking, nature, and conservation to the entire school – an opportunity I could only have through the Video Production program and Mr. D’Ambrosio’s dedication to his students.”

OneDublin.org: As you prepare for life after DHS, what are eager about accomplishing at Cal Poly?

Revak: “I recently committed to Cal Poly SLO to major in Business Administration and I am super excited for the next couple of years. Although I won’t be focusing my time on video production, I still hope to create videos in my free time as a way of chronicling my time as a young adult. I hope to become a marketing manager somewhere in the future where I can apply the skills I have learned as a filmmaker along with my creativity to help businesses grow. For the rest of my life, I will continue to capture life through a lens because it is one of the greatest feelings being able to look back on your life in a more personal way.”

OneDublin.org: You’ve already beaten the odds as the acceptance rate at Stanford University is about 4.65%. How do you plan to make the most of this opportunity?

Reed: “The aspect of Stanford that I am most excited about is the huge amount of opportunities in interdisciplinary studies on campus. Having diverse interests in engineering, filmmaking and music, I’m optimistic that I will find ways at Stanford to combine my various talents to create a meaningful impact to the world around me. One thing I learned from my time at Dublin High is that all the subjects aren’t as different as we like to think they are. They all share collective goals and use creativity as a medium for improvement. The way I see it, engineering, filmmaking and music are all simply different ways to manifest an inherent creativity within us all. I believe I can find other fulfilling ways to exercise that creativity at Stanford as well through their plethora of clubs. With such a diverse group of students at Stanford, there are classes and clubs that cater to essentially any interest you could think of. I can see myself getting involved in conservation clubs, athletic clubs for sports I’ve never played before and music clubs to be able to share my individual experience with music with others. Overall, the liberating and optimistic energy at Stanford will be the greatest opportunity of all and I can’t wait to help build that energy up further.”

So, while it may be somewhat sad to see this event end, it is far better to consider the number of students that have been positively influenced. It is only fitting that online sales for the only screening of the Film Festival broke the box office. The live stream will be accessible on gaelsvb.com. So rather than to say farewell, we prefer “Excelsior!” or derived from Latin, “ever upward”.

Film Festival Trailer

“Oasis on Earth” Trailer

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