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Best of the Week 2018-2019: Teaching to the Future


As one of four assessments in the IB Film HL course, senior filmmakers will now add horror films to their portfolios. Director of Innovation and Film teacher Mr. Nick Kuhar and his students traveled to the Goers Homestead in Medina, Ohio this week (courtesy of Associate VP of Buildings and Grounds, Mr. John Goers '78) on a preproduction trip for inspiration to create two original horror shorts. "Great locations can become characters themselves for our students' short films. Our students shoot lots of film on campus and, as a result, they anchor many of their stories in school-based conflicts and plots. Moving off-campus gives our students the space to immerse themselves in new genres and stories, and the Goers Homestead - with its Friday the 13th man-made lake; a grand, impressive, all-wood house; and a deep-woods setting - is a perfect locale for horror," says Mr. Kuhar.

Students had conducted research prior to their trip to analyze the important elements of classic horror films. Together, the class has watched A Quiet Place, The Shining and The Babadook, all of which are iconic, American horror films, to aid in the inspiration process for their own horror shorts. Additionally, students were assigned designated roles for their filming process (producer, director, cinematographer, composer, etc.) and, while watching these classic horror films, they had to catalog and reflect on conventions in each film that could inspire what they produce in their given roles. "This is a unique way to watch a film: not merely to be immersed in a narrative, but to deliberately look at the nuts-and-bolts of what makes a horror film work, from lighting, to the score, to cuts from scene to scene," says Mr. Kuhar.

While touring the Goers Homestead, students were able to test lenses, conduct basic planning for blocking and determine how the actors and crew will move with each other during key shots in order to capture the perfect scene. "The students immediately discovered ways to enhance or streamline their scripts once they had a chance to walk through the homestead, explore the lake, and tour the island," says Mr. Kuhar. "This immersive environment and the project's time crunch will really speed up their artistic progress and team-bonding among the students."

"My wife, Mary and I are thrilled to open our home and property to the film students," says Mr. Goers. "We are looking forward to seeing them in action and can't wait to see their films."

"After going out to sightsee the location for our off-campus film, I am most looking forward to bringing its suspenseful atmosphere to our thrill-seeking films and to ultimately share them with the St. Edward Community on October 31 to really embrace the Halloween spirit," says Andre Holland '19.

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