Lights, Camera, Action: The filmmakers of Granada

Setting up a Nikon Camera on a tripod angled in the correct light exposure and focused directly at a black backdrop, senior Samantha Umbay sets the scene to represent exactly what she wants her viewers to see. After developing an idea in her mind for months, she is finally able to bring it to life through film.  Senior Adam Descesare carefully revises the finishing touches of his film project inspired by stories of his grandfather. He lets nothing get in the way of getting the perfect shot.

More and more students on campus are exploring the creative field of short films. This type of art spans from writing a screenplay, drawing out storyboards, and constructing a final product leading to a unique short film. Part of this film community, both Umbay and Descesare are passionate about storytelling and enjoy creating their own short films in their free time despite hectic schedules.

Driven by personal experiences, these artists seek to reflect their lives in their work. They seek to showcase their creative talents on screen in order to either reflect their own lives or ideas they created.

“The idea of creating something and calling it your own is so, so special to me. Many people express this through paintings or music, but I decided to express my creative side through filmmaking,” Umbay said.

Filmmaking is not an easy task, as it takes tremendous effort, revision, and dedication to reach achievement. Although it requires countless hours of tiresome work, the end result becomes worth all the effort.

“Whenever a thought or idea comes into mind, I almost immediately write about it in my bullet journal. After that, the real process starts and I write a script, do a couple of major revisions, create a shot-list, find some actors, gather my equipment, film, edit, and publish all in that order,” Umbay said.

Umbay and Decesare both care about what messages they portray in their short films. Overall, what makes a good film is its story. It should be meaningful and leave an impact after the audience watches it and for the long-run.

“Looking back at the past, to see how and what we can do better in the future. Movies can be a way of being a model for progress. They reveal a lot on how we can better our lives. We can learn from the characters,” Decesare said.

For instance, Umbay’s first short film “Canvas” is based on a poem, written by Lia Laughlin, about life and the experiences we go through. Umbay recites the poem while visuals of stop motion painting is shown on a model’s body of different colors, reflecting what she is saying. The writing of what her film is based around is strong, and is something significant that will leave the audience thinking about it after.

“Don’t be afraid to show yourself and your interests,” Desecare said.

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper

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