Posts Tagged ‘student documentaries’

‘Paranormal Idyllwild’ Film Set

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Idyllwild Arts student filmmakers are looking for ghosts. They are working on a short documentary called “Paranormal Idyllwild,” about ghosts and spirits that haunt our town.

On May 29, the second night of the student Film Screenings at Idyllwild Arts, they gave a preview of this unfinished documentary. In it, they interviewed two employees from Idyllwild Arts, and one local inn owner.

Raye DeRoss, the school’s operator/receptionist, who is also a dorm parent, said that she has heard noises and voices in the dorm that she lives in. However, whenever she would go to investigate, no one would be there. This has happened more than once.

The inn owner described pretty much the same thing. Everyone seems to have heard a lot of random noises, but no one has actually seen a ghost.

Well, maybe someone has. A former student said that he saw a young female ghost with long brown hair and a white robe hovering over a well on the Idyllwild Arts campus. This happened at night, long before he was expelled. His friend, who still attends the school, believes him.

“We need more ghost stories,” said Becca, a junior theater major, who was helping her friend, Bree, the documentary’s writer, find more content.

“We tried Googling ghosts in Idyllwild, but nothing comes up,” Becca added. “But we know there’s more ghosts stories in Idyllwild.”

In the “Haunting Idyllwild Homes,” a post on this blog site from January 2010, an unidentified woman describes her ongoing battle with a ghost that haunts her Idyllwild home. It is driving her crazy enough to move out.

Becca said that she didn’t want to interview that woman because she’s a renter.

“We need to be able to show the inside and outside of the house,” Becca said. “If we were to show it on film, we might make the person who owns the house mad at us.”

If anyone (who is not a renter) is interested in telling their ghost story, call the Moving Pictures Department at Idyllwild Arts, at (951) 659-2171 or visit www.idyllwildarts.org. But wait until the film students return in September.

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Student Documentary Screened at ShortFest 2010

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Idyllwild Arts film crew from "The Piano Virtuosos"

By Marcia E. Gawecki

On May 28-29, the Idyllwild Arts Academy screened five short films, and trailers for three documentaries. The students work was well received by those who attended, including the media. The school plans to send the short films to area film festivals for review, however, some films don’t start getting attention until almost a year later.

Case in point: “The Steinway Virtuosos,” a short documentary produced by Idyllwild Arts students last year (2009), is now being screened at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival on June 22-28. ShortFest 2010 will present more than 300 short films from 40 countries.

IA students Amelia (L) and Joel (R) interview a grade school student in one of the piano labs

ShortFest 2010 is known worldwide for its extraordinary community of filmmakers it attracts, and the quality and scope of its programming. In 2005, an Idyllwild Arts student, Alexis Echavarria won the “Audience Choice Award” for “18 Minutes,” a short film about the last 18 minutes of sunlight on earth. The 16-year-old student died before the screening at ShortFest 2009, but a student award has been set up in his name.

His mother has not forgotten Idyllwild Arts and has been generous over the years. In Oct. 2009, she dedicated “Alexis Annex,” a building on the Idyllwild Arts campus, in his name.

“She also donated all of the computers that we used to edit the films this year,” said Dr. Ira Abrams, from the Idyllwild Arts Moving Pictures Department.

Teacher and students in a piano lab sponsored by The Steinway Society

“The Steinway Virtuosos,” the 2009 student documentary, is about a piano contest sponsored by the Steinway Society of Riverside County, a nonprofit organization that helps put music back into California grade schools what government funding has cut over the years.

Ruth Moir, founder and head of the Steinway Society of Riverside County, said that she hopes that her organization will help to nurture interest in music in grade school students. They have set up a “piano lab” targeted at students from third to fifth grade, in which they learn to play on pianos at school and read music.

The Steinway Society also has an outreach program for talented piano students in which some receive piano keyboards to practice at home. Marcos, a grade school student featured in the documentary, came to the Steinway Society by accident. He was called into the principal’s office for tardiness, and saw a piano there. He asked if he could play it, and impressed the principal, who immediately called The Steinway Society.

Emily discusses the next steps with her crew

Up until that time, Moir said, he was playing “by ear” on a broken down old keyboard at a home that he shared with his single mother and sister with special needs. The Steinway Society gave him a new keyboard and music lessons, and within a year, he has learned to read music.

When the Idyllwild Arts crew came to interview him at his home near Palm Desert, he performed “I Will Always Love You,” a song he created for his grandmother who had just passed away. The strength and intensity of his playing hushed them into silence.

Kitty (L) won the Steinway Competition that is featured in the documentary

The documentary crew consisted of Amelia, Emily, Joel, Ben, and Scarlett. Two of them graduated from Idyllwild Arts on June 5. Emily plans to study film, while Amelia wants to try acting in front of the camera in her native Vancouver.¬†Daphne or “Kitty,” who won the piano competition that was featured in “The Steinway Virtuosos” documentary, will study piano in college in the fall.

Other Idyllwild Arts music students and faculty who appear in the video include: Doug Ashcraft, Nelms McKalvin, Ie-Seul, Georgina and Timmy.

When Amelia, the producer, graduated this year, she was unaware of the screening at ShortFest 2010, but knew about its potential to appear on public television.

“Guess I’ll have to wait until it appears on TV,” she said. “That would be pretty exciting.”

Scarlett, who edited “The Steinway Virtuosos” as well as five films this year, said it was one of the most difficult to complete. She was working day and night, right up until the screenings on campus last year.

“It changed direction three times,” Scarlett said, as she groaned, remembering. “It was about the Steinway Society, and then the competition. But, in the end, we were pretty happy with the way it turned out.”

Abrams said that he hopes to attend ShortFest 2010, along with others from the Idyllwild Arts Moving Pictures Department, but the film festival is held during their summer break.

“‘The Steinway Virtuosos’ will be shown in a package appropriately called, ‘Performance Anxiety,’ which screens on Saturday, June 26,” said Dr. Abrams. “There will be nine shorts starting at 1:30 p.m., so our documentary will start an hour later, roughly at 2:30 p.m.”

For more information on ShortFest 2010, visit www.psfilmfest.org, for “18 Minutes,” visit www.alexisechavarria.com, and for attending Idyllwild Arts, visit www.idyllwildarts.org.

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