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CHS produces 24 hour film fest

Equipped with iPhones and camcorders, Claremont High School students were the stars of a 24-hour film fest last week.

CHS students collected nearly 3 hours of footage over a 24-hour period as a part of Claremont High School’s “Through Your Eyes” project, capturing video of students, filmed by students for a unique Claremont documentary.  

More than 30 students took part in capturing CHS on celluloid, a first-of-its kind project for the high schoolers, designed as a way to get the students more involved in campus life, according to Josh Gilson, Associated Student Body (ASB) film technician and co-creator of the project.

“CHS might be small, but it is a good campus. It is homey and there is a lot of uniqueness,” said Josh, who was aided in the project by Jeremiah Davis, the ASB commissioner of pep. “This [project] gave students a chance to portray that. It’s cool to see that from a perspective other than my own.”

Claremont’s project was inspired by director Kevin MacDonald’s documentary Life in a Day. Released last summer, the film is a visual time capsule of July 24, 2010. Individuals all over the world were encouraged to film their normal everyday activities within that 24-hour period. The result is a 95-minute compilation of footage submitted by 80,000 people from 192 countries. The Claremont students and filmmakers decided to mimic the experience on a smaller scale.

“We liked how [Life in a Day] brought people from all over the world together,” Jeremiah said. “We thought we would have students at Claremont High School film life from their perspective too.”

For Josh and Jeremiah, friends and film buffs, their inspiration came from their desire to get more students involved in CHS’s regularly-scheduled ASB rallies, which often feature a ASB-made video.

“Some people would complain that they were never in the video or that there wasn’t an equal opportunity to be featured,” Jeremiah said. “So we thought we would give students the chance to get involved in the process. And the rallies are well-known for the videos.”

Despite their ambition, making their vision become a reality for the CHS student population became a hefty undertaking, especially when it came to trying to market the project.

“We had 30 seconds to air a promotional for the project on WolfCast (CHS student broadcast),” Josh explained.

“We really had no idea if it was going to work, or how many people were going to participate,” Jeremiah said.

Josh got to school early on Friday for his first period class and was immediately worried because he did not notice many cameras. By the end of his class, however, the story had changed.

“All of a sudden I was getting all these texts from people I didn’t know and I saw more and more people with cameras. It was overwhelming, but really exciting.”

Sophomore Matt Monroe was among eager students, busy plotting out their film shoots amid their class schedule.

“I thought it was an awesome idea. It’s a great opportunity to get involved,” Mr. Monroe said.

After school, Mr. Monroe and his friends set out to Mount Baldy Road with a Cannon in tow to capture their routine after-school skating session. Avid long boarders, their footage was a compilation of what they have enjoyed doing on a daily basis since the crew first became friends in junior high school.

“Whenever we aren’t in school, we are always getting together to practice our long boarding,” said fellow sophomore Joseph Blash after his first trip down the steep slope. “It’s a rush. There is just no way to describe it.”

While the group took turns speeding down Mt. Baldy, others were busy attending the day’s sporting events, filming their between-class jam sessions, or random after-school outings.

To date, Josh and Jeremiah have received about 70 gigabytes of footage, and the number keeps on growing.

“We really didn’t know what to expect, but the response has been really great,” said Josh, who looks forward to the hours of editing. “I hope it ends up being a good product for everyone, especially being able to see their own footage.”

A collection of footage posted by participating students can be viewed on the Claremont High School ASB Facebook page. The finished documentary, to be compiled and edited by Josh, will be viewed at a school rally to be held Friday, February 24. The finished product will also be available to view at the ASB YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/TheClaremontHighASB.

—Beth Hartnett

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