Monday, September 25, 2017

From Smart Phones to Short Films

Students at the American Language Center in Fez have moved from watching movies to also making them. Suzanna Clarke reports


On Saturday September 23, a premiere was held at the ALC, showing four short films made by students using their smart phones. Three were dramas, and one was a comedy.

“I want you to make your own movies,” said teacher Jamal Morelli. “There are four horror films being made, so I encourage you to get involved.”



With mainstream directors like Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) regularly using an iPhone to shoot his films and video clips, and film festivals such as Sundance showcasing films like Tangerine, shot entirely on phones, the democratisation of film-making is now a reality. With a knowledge of basic film technique, judicious editing and new apps, as well as vision and determination, the art form is within the realm of anyone with a smartphone.

The results of yesterday’s ALC Film Premiere were mixed - but what the students lacked in professionalism they made up for with enthusiasm.

Directed by Simo Ouzzani, the short film Beneath the Black Veil was preceded by a lively discussion among the students on the nature of terrorism. The film followed a personal journey into the motivations of a female suicide bomber.

Other films included The Janitor, about a young man who is forced to take on paid work to support his family, but who still succeeds in pursuing his dream of an education; a film about the process of making a film, Room 6, and Me and I, a contemporary Moroccan comedy which used slapstick and other classic comic traditions to the great enjoyment of the audience.

Amine Wali Alami worked on Me and I. "With this project I did about forty per cent of the direction, thirty per cent of the script writing and all the editing. I got lots of experience, especially in editing and shooting. I learned tricks about transitions, sound, team work and shooting conditions. It was absolutely amazing and fun. Would I try it again? Hell yeah!"

Amine and his team are planning a sequel to Me and I. He is also working on a horror movie and a documentary about heavy metal music in Morocco.

Between the films were brief performances by students - two sang, one did a skilful vocal percussion number, producing up to seven sounds simultaneously using only his mouth, another did a couple of Hip Hop dances, and one young man, Oussama Hasni, gave an edgy standup comedy performance.

Oussama Hasni delivers the comic touch 

The Film Premiere was reminiscent of the early days of films, when silent movies and variety shows were seen by the same audience.

The students were clearly engaged and motivated; keen to develop their filmmaking and English speaking skills. And despite being a little rough around the edges, there was real talent in the room.

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2 comments:

mohammed slaoui said...

I really appreciate this experiment
That true it was really stressful making a film in one week but when we see the results i was really proud of it specially i improved my skills in mounting also i learned thousands of trikes to make a good movie
Plus i learned how to use adobe photoshop just for making the film poster...

ismail sakrani said...

Good Luck