The 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival trip for the Buzz Media program of Galena Park High School was successful beyond expectations! Sixteen students attended the festival and every single day, we were told how well behaved they were. The days were long and packed full of panel discussions, screenings, and mentoring. However, they remained on task and very focused.
Although this festival is one of the largest in the world for seasoned professional filmmakers, the students were able to engage with them to begin to applying new skills to their films to help GPHS. In seeing the work of other filmmakers, and being able to immediately talk to those filmmakers one on one, they learned how similar their experiences have been in filmmaking, and learned “tricks of the trade” used by filmmakers even with multi-million dollar budgets.
We hit the ground running and packed in as much as possible each of the 5 days of the trip. Here’s a brief overview of the trip March 12 – 16:
Over the 5 days we attended:
5 panel discussions
- Directing workshop by Director Catherine Hardwicke (TWILIGHT) who focused on shot lists, rehearsals, etc. and used real samples of her own work, including the upcoming RED RIDING HOOD.
- Directing workshop by Director Todd Phillips (Warner Brothers) who has produced recent blockbusters and shared with the students how teamwork and collaboration are a must.
- Directing workshop by Director Robert Rodriguez (EL MARIACHI, DESPERADO, SPY KIDS Trilogy). This was a special treat as all Buzz Media students have been through the Robert Rodriguez 10 Minute Film Schools used at GPHS). Robert made a special appearance after the panel to meet the students, take pictures, etc.
- Inside Sony’s new F-3 35mm camera – Sony, Inc. This new camera, though out of the price range for most students, is a new way of shooting feature films with a 35 mm look without the use of million dollar cameras and equipment.
- Creating Social Action Plans – TakePart, Inc. The future of filmmaking and marketing is definitely social media. The students got to learn how they can use social media from pre-production, to production, to post-production in their projects.
11 film screenings which were comprised of:
- 8 feature film screenings
- 2 US Premieres
- 3 World Premieres
- 3 short film screenings which included a total of 37 short films (25 of which were for Texas High School student films in the finals)
All screenings were followed by Q&A with directors, producers and cast
Dialogue with professional filmmakers
- After most of the screenings, the teachers Dave DeJohn and Melvin Harris as well as Producer (and chaperone) Mignon DeJohn of All That Media were able to get one on one mentoring time of the filmmakers with the students.
- Students met and talked one on one with numerous producers, actors, and directors about the filmmaking process and what was involved in preparation and various production elements.
The Award Ceremony
- Buzz Media had their submission “Eggs” announced as a runner up in the Texas High School Shorts film competition
- Students were able to witness the sweeping win of 6 out of 7 awards for one of the films they had viewed just the day before, Natural Selection, written and directed by Robbie Pickering from the Houston area (who took the time to discuss filmmaking one on one with all 16 students after the premiere of his film).
By the end of the festival, they all had a greater appreciation and understanding for teamwork, hard work, perseverance and determination when working towards a goal. They seem even more fired up about making their TAKS videos.
Buzz Media Attends SXSW Film Festival