Film during the Pandemic with Zach Samuel

Photo Courtesy of the Manitoban

Photo Courtesy of the Manitoban

Will Kanny

Film during the Pandemic is a new Patriot series that will interview students and teachers regarding film class during the pandemic (this is issue #2). Zach Samuel, a film III student, responded to questions about how film class and learning has changed during coronavirus. Below are interesting answers to questions that he answered about how his expectations were met during these hard times. 

What did you expect Film III to be before the coronavirus switched school from in person learning to zoom?

Prior to the pandemic, I expected Film III to contain in-person group projects, film shoots, and experiences that resembled the professional Film Industry. Most students look forward to spending an entire semester (or even a year) working on the same film project, including writing, pre-production, shooting, and post-production. All of these phases were heavily dependent upon in-person collaboration and our ability to be at the Viewpoint campus, so my expectations for Film III drastically changed when the pandemic hit.

How has Film III met your expectations over online schooling? 

Film III has exceeded my expectations given Viewpoint’s remote learning. Ms. Hoenig, the Film III teacher, has worked incredibly hard to make sure our classes are still meaningful, fun, and engaging. We have still gotten the experience of learning different film techniques and skills, albeit in a different context. 

How have students been making films in Film III? 

Students have been making “YouTube video” films that focus on themselves or something they are passionate about. The videos have been filmed and edited using our own iPhones and equipment, and almost all projects have been individual (as opposed to group work). Students have found clever stories to tell in the context of the pandemic, including many “day in the life” videos.

Are making these films more or less enjoyable than making films with other people? 

My favorite part of the filmmaking process is working with other students to create, develop, and execute our films. With this in mind, I would have to say that making films this year has been less enjoyable than in years prior. However, this does not mean that it has been unenjoyable. 

How has your filmmaking skills improved during the past year with the coronavirus lockdowns?

My filmmaking skills have improved over the past year because I have learned to become more resourceful and effective throughout the filmmaking process. Given the lack of equipment and our normal filmmaking resources, I have come to see a different side of filmmaking, giving me invaluable experience and skills. 

Do you think going back to school is going to disrupt learning, and make it harder to learn about film? 

I am eager to return to in-person learning because I am excited to start working with my classmates again. However, I anticipate the hybrid learning model will make film classes significantly more challenging. We still cannot really collaborate or use school equipment, and half of our class will always be at home. This might make classes completely unengaging for the remote students, and underwhelming for the in-person students. However, I know Ms. Hoenig will figure out a way to make sure everything continues smoothly!

This interview was done over email.