During last year’s camp, Seattle documentary filmmaker Ward Serrill and his crew spent several days wandering the Mt. Edgecumbe campus, visiting classes, and talking to students to capture the true spirit of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp. (Ward also taught 3 documentary film classes, so we kept him very busy)
Ward wrote in about making the film:
“I had the dizzying job of somehow capturing a month at camp, 500 kids , 60 classes, and student and instructor performances while at the same time teaching a documentary film class every day myself.
The trick was to be able to tell the camp story in under 8 minutes so it could be used at meeting, classes, gatherings, etc. and give people a real taste of the camp (not the lunchroom food! But its sights, sounds, excitement, and diversity). I filmed a lot myself when I could, between my own classes, and also brought up a film crew from Seattle for two days each of the middle school and high school camps. I shot five interviews all in groups plus a single interview with Roger.
I like shooting interviews with groups of people because it is a bit more like a free-form conversation than a one-on-one question-and-answer kind of interview. I shot a group of middle schoolers, a group of high schoolers, and three groups of instructors. In post-production I pieced together the interviews to tell the narrative of the story and then filled it in with shots of the camp in action.
I had to keep in mind that we needed to show a good mix of visual, musical, theatrical, and other art forms at that camp, so it didn’t seem like too much of a music camp or a theater camp to the exclusion of the others.
The bottom line is that the piece had to keep moving along and give a sense of excitement. I hope it worked!”
The result of all his filming is our new Sitka Fine Arts Camp Movie, which debuted on our website on January 1. Now we’re sharing it here as well! Watch Movie.
We’d love to know what you, our students, think! Does the movie capture camp, as much as a movie can? What made you laugh? What made you cry? What did the students say that you also think and feel? What are you most looking forward to at camp this year! (If you haven’t already, make sure you go to our website and register for camp!!)
Post your thoughts and responses in our comments section below.