Lights, camera, education for Faith Triumphant students

By Laurie Stone

The Faith Triumphant Christian School is adding more action to its arts program this year —action preceded by the words “lights” and “camera.”
Besides its drama and music classes, a film class is in the works for the school’s Friday arts schedule.
The film class will enable students to enlarge their academic creativity by reaching through the voices of those in the community. The intent is to create productions in a documentary format, focused on the pioneers of Roosevelt County.
On the third Sunday of each month, the Faith Triumphant Church — which shares a building with the school — has its congregation gather at Heartland Continuing Care after services to commune with senior citizens.
“It was talking with the senior citizens at Heartland that sparked the idea for the film-making class,” said Todd Terry, FTCS principal and film class teacher.
School administrators operate on a belief that all students are creative and should be given opportunities to show it off. With that in mind, Terry said the intention of the class is to have each of the 18 film class students spend some time in all of the different positions (i.e. interviewer, camera operator, editor, score producer) needed for making the film.
“The best hands on teacher a child can have is a child ‘doing,’” Terry said, “and producing a film is actively participating in hands on work.”
Jake Jones, a junior at FTCS, is excited about the class being offered because he and his friends have been experimenting with film using their own equipment.
“Editing is my favorite part of film making,” Jones said. “I like it because I get a chance to take something and shape it by giving it my own vision.”
Victoria Payen, junior at FTCS, thinks its great having a filming class in high school because she sees it as an opportunity to do something she’s always wanted to do.
Terry hopes his students will identify with and be educated by the people they’re filming for the documentary.
“The older generation has so much history and experience to offer the community that even the younger generation can benefit from their experiences,” Terry said.
For now, the students are using handheld camcorders and whatever equipment their families may have on hand. Terry said he and the students are comparison shopping for equipment, including digital cameras and editing software.
Terry said the budget for equipment will depend on how successful the class is at fund-raising. Terry has no set plan for what type of budget they’ll have, but he’s confident that the students will take it upong themselves to make the film class a success.
“It’s all they talk about,” he said.
Terry said that the class intends to produce a DVD of the documentary and would like to have multiple screenings, including at least one at Heartland, when the project is finished.