One Race Global Film Foundation

ORF Summer Intensive (SI 2009) - PRODUCTION BLOG


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Day 5 - June 5th, 2009.

It's been a great first week here at SI. We've still got student crews shooting their commercials, but many have returned back to the lab to start post-production work.  Everyone's been working around the clock to finish up on their commercials before the deadline (we call these times "overnights"- no one goes home until all work is done!)  and some ambitious ones went further and experimented with animation and creating their own soundtracks. President Leonel Fernandez managed to make a surprise visit this evening, dropping by to greet the students of SI 2009, watch their commercials, and chat with them about their progress in the course. The President got a real kick out of Watson Balmyr's mattress commercial, and was thoroughly impressed with everyone's work. What a great way to end the first week of class!

Next week, we're starting our second assignments: a ten-minute television show, hosted by the students themselves. Stay tuned! 

Day 4 - June 4, 2009

What a day! Everyone’s been super busy, shooting and editing their commercials throughout the day. I got the chance to visit the sets today, and let me tell you, these students have it down. Blandish, one of our exchange students, shot her commercial by a pool, so we spent much of the afternoon watching her crew get wet to capture the perfect shot.  Later in the afternoon, I visited the set of Violet’s PSA on music education, which she shot on location at the National Music Conservatory.  Robert shot his commercial at Las Palmas Bar, which he transformed from a simple bar into a Caribbean household. Watson shot his commercial at the Marriott Hotel, where he created an elegant and sophisticated setting for his provocative mattress commercial. 

In the mean time, students who shot yesterday returned to the edit lab and have been busy finishing up on their post-production. We’ve managed to get four commercials completed, and tomorrow’s the last day on the set for the commercial projects.

Day 3 - June 3, 2009

“We’re on our third day here at SI 2009, and you can already feel the pressure! 
Students began storyboarding and planning their shots, finding ways to economically plan and shoot their commercials. We’re a firm believer in pre-production; if students know exactly what is necessary for their stories to make sense, then they have more freedom on set to explore more creative choices that may arise on location.  

Now the real fun begins.

The crews have been set up, each group of five students has two teaching assistants available to them at all times, and SHOOTING HAS BEGUN! We had six productions up and running in one afternoon alone! Everyone is working hard to turn out amazing product. Students are all over the city shooting their commercials: in restaurants, hotels, parks, bars, even banks! Some have even returned this evening to begin post-production (major props to Karen Estevez, the first to wrap and begin editing tonight! She gets a gold star).  

Now that our productions have started up, you can expect us to be up to twelve, thirteen, even fourteen hours shooting. That’s what I love about these students: their dedication and drive will take them far in the film world.

Day 2 - June 2, 2009

It’s our second day of SI 2009, and our four Haitian students have joined us today, thanks to a partnership with Yele Haiti!

We began our day with an introduction to lighting and composition. Irving screened clips from “Visions of Light”, an excellent documentary that showcases how to manipulate light to create different moods. The students got a real kick out of learning how simple it was to light any situation, and began thinking of ways to make their commercial projects more compelling through the use of imaginative lighting.

After the screening, students had the chance to work together to set up lighting scenarios and familiarize themselves with the equipment available to them (a class favorite: the red and green gels. Almost everyone wants to film a bar/club scene using these colors now!). 

In the afternoon, Irving heard pitches for the commercial or public service announcements. Many were funny, with great pay-offs in the end, while others tackled serious issues that affect the Dominican community. One great thing about our students is that they’re always imaginative. 

Day 1 - June 1, 2009

Today, we officially launched the ORF Summer Intensive 2009 (SI 2009), and Irving began the day by having the students introduce themselves one by one. Afterwards, we jumped right to work - what distinguishes our program from others in the Dominican Republic is that students don't just learn about the theory of filmmaking, they get a hands-on approach on the very first day. 

The students were then broken off into teams of five, each led by two teaching assistants, to work on their first assignment. Students were told to interview each other with the cameras as an electronic news gathering unit, where they rotated positions as interviewer, interviewee, director, cameraman, and sound mixer. People discovered that they had similar interests, goals, or even attended the same schools! The One Race Global Film Foundation truly does bring people together, doesn't it?

Overall, it’s been a successful first day; let’s hope that the energy continues to be high for the rest of the week!

Check out the Students of the ORF Summer Intensive 2009 to get to know our class a little more.

May 30, 2009

"Get ready for four weeks of hard work, get ready for four weeks of creativity, get ready for four weeks of fun, get ready for four weeks that will change your lives." 
Irving Vincent, Program Director, One Race Global Film Foundation

Hey there! My name is Danny, co-Program Coordinator for this year’s class, and for the next four weeks I'm going to be sharing with you all of the excitement, the sweat and tears of Primera Toma, the One Race Global Film Foundation's signature course in film, television, and new media production in the Dominican Republic!

It's been quite a busy weekend for us here in Santo Domingo. On Saturday, the entire staff met at GFDD/FUNGLODE headquarters for our first day as crew members of Primera Toma 2009. The afternoon introduction and tech session was led by our fearless leaders: Irving Vincent, Program Director for the ORGFF, and George Argento, Technical Director of the NYU OP Multimedia Lab. 

This is an exciting year for Primera Toma - this marks the first year that the Dominican Teaching Assistants will assume leading teaching positions in the crews alongside their NYU counterparts, putting into practice the knowledge and techniques they’ve acquired in the class and field work done on sets post-course. We're also welcoming four Haitian students who will be taking the class alongside the Dominican students, thanks to a partnership with Wyclef Jean’s YeleHaiti organization. Also, we've moved into a new building and have brand new edit stations, fully equipped with the latest in editing and new media production software. We're really eager to see what amazing projects students come up with this year. 

This year, the four Dominican TAs are: Dante Lara, who participated in Primera Toma 2007 (and shot "Shine", which I recommend everyone watch on our website), Jay Rivera and Laura Guzman, who both participated in Primera Toma 2008 and worked together on the final project "Apertura", and Crisermy Mercado, who has acted in projects for Primera Toma 2008 and the NYU Tisch Creative Arts Project 2008.

On the NYU side, Mahsooma Abbas returns as a TA (we first worked together on last year's Primera Toma), and we've got three new staff members: Annette Rodriguez (a recent NYU grad), Yorkeny Mercedes (a senior at Tisch), and Naleeka Dennis (a sophomore at Tisch). Thalia Ortiz also returns as this year's co-Program Coordinator, and I'm so thrilled to be working with everyone in ensuring that this course is as successful as in years past.

That's it for tonight's post. Make sure you stop by often to get an in depth view of our productions and check out the weekly gallery for stills!