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Girls on film

GIRLS ON FILM: AV3 students, junior Brina Dang and senior Aaliyah Lewis, are invited to debut their short film at the upcoming 2017 SLO Film Festival.

AV3 students, junior Brina Dang and senior Aaliyah Lewis, are invited to debut their short film at the upcoming 2017 SLO Film Festival

Junior Brina Dang of the Advanced Video Production class and her partner, senior Aaliyah Lewis, will compete at the 2017 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, which takes place from March 14- 19 in as many as ten different local venues throughout the week. Dang and Lewis were invited to the Festival after Dang received an email that broke the good news: after submitting 3 films for a chance of acceptance, her final film “Not Enough” had made the cut.

The SLO Film Festival is an annual event that debuts a variety of films, ranging from contemporary documentaries, film classics, and independent works. Now on its 23rd year, the Festival will take six days to fulfill its goal to “entertain, educate and inspire film-goers and filmmakers,” as declared by the organization’s mission statement. Young filmmakers can compete in the George Sidney Independent Film Competition, in which the films will be judged in the categories of Full-length Narrative Film, Full-length Documentary, Short Film, and College Student Film for a chance to win between 500 to 1,000 dollars. Films also have the opportunity to be subjected to audience criticism by competing for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film, and Best in Fest. Competitors had until November 30, 2016, to enter, in which the most promising submissions were then invited to compete in the SLO Film Fest.

Dang and Lewis’s film was produced last year for a Skills USA Digital Cinema competition, which ending up winning first place in the Regional competition. The theme of the film is “Never take no for an answer,” inspiring the plot that follows a girl who is determined to get accepted to her dream photography school. The protagonist, whose friend had been accepted before her, exhibits the doubt and insecurity she feels when her skill and talent are in question. As the film progresses, the scenes convey messages about the important bonds of friendship, determination, and self-confidence.

“[Last year] the [Skills USA] judges were really blown away. They said that we were a little bit more than average if that’s the right word,” said Dang with a shy smile. “It came to the point when they said that our video looked like a professional did it, or we hired a professional to do it.”

Dang and Lewis have been partners since Dang’s freshmen year for Skills USA. After breaking through shy introductions, the team has proven to be a talented duo.While the key to success when working in a group is having the right partner, both girls attest that their cooperation has pushed each other the best filmmakers they can be.

“It’s pretty cool having Brina as a partner, especially since we were placed as partners by chance a few years ago by Mr. Rucker. It’s like it was destined to be. I think we work pretty well together. If we have different ideas, we always try to make the ideas into one. Also, I feel like we always take each other’s creative criticism into account,” Lewis said.

John Rucker, who teaches  Introduction to Multimedia Journalism, Audio/ Video 2 Productions, and AV3 Producer’s Practicum, attributes the team’s success in cinematography not only to their technical skills but also the creative and inquisitive nature of their minds; their films stand out due to the themes behind them that weave expertly into the editing and visual aspects of the film.

Brina Dang has been in this advanced level for producers for two years and brings her unique perspective to the class. She consistently seeks the big “Why” in her productions, which also explains why she and Aaliyah Lewis’s video, Not Enough, was chosen as a student entry for screening at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival this year. Both Lewis and Dang used great visual storytelling techniques such as communicative camera angles and powerful, dynamic visual metaphors in Not Enough,” said Rucker. “Since having the inquisitive mind and asking questions is at the heart of genuine learning, [Dang] is constantly gathering more skills and strategies in her art forms.”

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