Written by Christine Plaster ‘20, Jackie Prata ‘20, and Daniella Tocco ‘20
We participated in a week-long High School Intensive Documentary Filmmaking course in the summer of 2017 at the Pelham Picture House and worked with Hearts and Homes for Refugees. This project culminated in an October screening of our film on the big screen at the Pelham Picture House
. Emmy-award winning documentary producer Laura Meoli, who was our teacher in the summer course, spoke to Sacred Heart Greenwich filmmaking students on October 25 about documentary production.
In the summer program, we worked diligently with Hearts and Homes for Refugees, which is a non-profit group that advocates for the needs of refugees in Westchester County. We went to the organization's headquarters and filmed one of their meetings. In addition, we drove to Pelham, New York so that we could film additional b-roll footage about how Hearts and Homes for Refugees focuses on helping refugees in that town.
This project gave us the opportunity to use advanced equipment including two DSLR cameras, lighting, and sound equipment. After finishing the interviews, we listened to all of the possible themes in our documentary and discussed how our interviewees’ responses tied into those themes. Once we realized we had all our significant information we ordered our quotes the way we wanted them to be presented in the documentary.
Overall, this camp was a great experience because of our newly acquired skills in filmmaking and the fact that we were able to learn how much time, planning, and dedication goes into filming and creating a professional documentary. We can now use these new tools to apply to our own broadcast projects at school.
It was exciting to see our film showcased at the Pelham Picture House at the first public screening of "Hearts and Homes for Refugees" on October 14. We were happy to reconnect with our teacher Laura Meoli and Francile Albright, the Director of Education at The Picture House.
Laura visited the Real World Filmmaking class on October 25 and showed two documentaries, including the short film we created over the summer. Laura answered students’ questions. The three of us were able to share with our classmates the pre-production strategies we learned in the documentary program.
Our experience participating in the Pelham Picture House Documentary Filmmaking program was educational and enjoyable, and we would recommend it to all young filmmakers who have a desire to learn more about the execution of a documentary.