High school filmmakers visit Greater Allegheny campus

Future filmmakers from McKeesport High School?s digital media class shot footage and conducted an interview with an admissions counselor on the Greater Allegheny campus as part of a short documentary they?re producing about how to prepare for life after high school.

The students are participants of Hear Me 101, a social advocacy media production program initiated by the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. Funded by The Heinz Endowments, Hear Me 101 aims to produce and promote youth voice to inspire social change. The program is programmed by Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Pittsburgh Filmmakers (PF/PCA), The Consortium for Public Education, and The Western Pennsylvania Writing Project.

Molly Duerig is the lead instructor for Filmmakers Youth Media. She helps guide the budding filmmakers to explore and discover their talents while creating short documentaries.

?Working with these young artists to find their voices and to express their ideas on video has been very rewarding for me,? said Duerig.  ?We?ve been developing film ideas, shooting footage and polishing it in post-production. The students are learning a lot about how they can use digital media to get a specific argument across.?

Their plan to include Penn State Greater Allegheny as a location to shoot came naturally because of its proximity to McKeesport High School. Admissions counselor Dave Davis is in contact with the high school across the street from the campus and works with their guidance counselors on a regular basis.

?Mr. Davis said that most high schools don?t have a great counselor-student ratio. We need more,? said the film?s director, Cameron Finney, currently a senior at McKeesport High. ?Making positive change is what this film is all about.?

Davis explained that high school students need to be prepared early and to be aware of deadlines. ?Preparation is key to success when applying to college, stated Davis. ?Working closely with your high school guidance counselor is key.?

The three students working on the project functioned as director, grip and editor. Duerig supervises them as they hone their skills in pre-production, shooting, and editing. ?Once the students edit the footage and complete their projects, a screening will take place at Pittsburgh Filmmakers on May 14. The projects will then be posted on YouTube and on the HearMe101 website.?