Aptos High’s Film Festival was all laughs Tuesday evening. Held in the school's new theater for the first time, the festival consisted of about 20 student-made films ranging in length from one to five minutes. The films are a culmination of the ROP Video Production class taught by Jenny Angelacos.
“They work in small groups and learn everything from pre-production (screen writing, storyboarding, shot lists) to production, where they go out and shoot, and then the whole editing process,” said Angelacos, who has taught the class for the past seven years.
These are all skills that can be used in the workforce, she said.
This year’s class yielded an amusing mix of trailers, music videos, short story lines and spoofs. All were comedies laced with a notable touch of mock violence.
“In this year’s class, I had all boys and one girl, and that makes a huge difference in the kind of work they produce, because they all influence each other,” said Angelacos. "So they all went down the same sort of comical vein. We had a lot of comedy and lots of violence."
Seniors Colin Burris and Michael Oberst organized this year’s film festival, directing three different films. Their five-minute film, Ghostwriter, set to RJD2's song “Ghostwriter,” also screened in the Santa Cruz Film Festival 2011.
“This video is kind of the culmination of all of the skills we’ve learned,” said Burris.
Among those skills, the most significant were lining up the song with the actions they have filmed—one of the many challenges to the editing process.
Ghostwriter also required directing a very large cast for the first time, with at least 20 of their friends appearing in a disco dance scene set in a garage.
“It was a challenge learning how to guide that many people,” said Burris. "We actually had four different cameras set up, all filming at the same time."
In one particularly daring shot, Burris actually leaned out of the window of a moving van, “clutching the camera for dear life” in order to film the drive through Capitola Village at wheel-level.
“This was like our Super Bowl,” said Oberst.
Both Burris and Oberst plan to study film at San Francisco State next year, and it is exciting to think about the films they will come up with there.
After the success of this year’s film festival, Angelacos plans to promote the event more next year in the hopes of sharing the creative works of these high school talents with the whole community, rather than just the students and parents who only filled a small portion of the beautiful new theater.
“Our goal is always to share with a larger audience,” said Angelacos, who says the festival will be an annual event from now on. “Last year, we did hold a film festival in the cafeteria, but it pales in comparison to the new theater.”