By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN —The WDHS student video program at Dearborn High School premiered their short films during the 18th annual festival April 27 at the Michael A. Guido Theater.
This year’s 10 student-produced films were “Wrong Place Wrong Time,” “Lollipop Love,” “Madison Murdoch Shorts,” “The Needle Drop,” “More Punch,” “Grandpa’s List,” “Four Guys Eyes on the Prize,” “Malak Wazne’s Shorts,” “Lucidity” and “Super Scrap.”
The process began in September 2016 with the students pitching their film ideas, voting on them and then selecting their teams to create their films.
“Each film is 100 percent-student generated from start to finish,” DHS Video Program Teacher Kurt Doelle said. “They begin in September and go through challenges like editing until the night before the festival as they did this year.”
DHS junior Caleb Rice directed and wrote “Grandpa’s List,” and directed, wrote and acted in “Lollipop Love.”
“Grandpa’s List” is about a boy named Johnny whose grandfather passed away and found a list with acts of kindness while cleaning out the house. In order to get to know his grandfather better Johnny decides to complete the acts on the list.
“For ‘Grandpa’s List’ the film was wasn’t supposed to happen until I pitched it to my classmates and they loved it,” Rice said. “We were the first to finish our filming.”
“Lollipop Love” was initially an old western film but was changed to a film about two people on a blind date and what would happen to the relationship afterwards.
“I loved acting and everything else about the film,” said DHS junior Elijha Jefferson, who acted in the film. “It was fun to be around people who love what they do.”
A three-year veteran of the video program, DHS junior Isaiah Goddard acted in “Four Guys Eyes on the Prize” which is about four friends who are tired of being uncool so they create devious plans to become popular.
“I love acting because it change someone’s life,” he said. “I act for change, to bring life into each production and so people can enjoy themselves.”
Madison Murdoch, a DHS senior wore multiple hats including director, writer, producer and editor for “Super Scrap,” and the public service announcement “SHED” this year.
She listed “SHED,” a sexual assault public service announcement as one of her favorite things she’d worked on because of the cinematography, acting and powerful message.
Out of all the roles she held this year, Murdoch said directing was the most rewarding because she had final say on the film.
“Being a director allowed me to work on all aspects of the film because it is a mix of everything together,” she said. “I love watching the script come to life.”
During the film festival, Doelle took the time to formally announce that the program’s new name will now be the Russ Gibb Digital Media Television Production Center.
The new name came after students pitched the change to the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education during a March 13 meeting. The name was then approved during the April 10 board meeting with plaques planned for the two classrooms at Dearborn High School.
“Russ had a tremendous influence on so many students, and his approach to teaching will live on forever,” Doelle said. “Thank you, Dr. Gibb, for inspiring me, thank you for inspiring so many students. I appreciate it so much. You are the man and always have been the man.”
For more information on the films or video program go to www.wdhsvideo.org.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)