If you missed Dark Room, the summer screening by students in BAVC Media’s advanced video production program, The Factory, you can still watch the films online. What you won’t be able to experience was the amazing ambiance of the Roxie’s large theater, free slices donated by Goat Hill Pizza and the most delicious juices and smoothies donated by Voila! Juice Co., and the voices of the filmmakers themselves reflecting on their work.
Currently in its 11th year The Factory is taught by filmmakers Sarah Gonzalez and Claire Weissbluth. Students meet twice a week throughout the school year and create their own work as well as projects for community clients. Both were screened during Dark Room, including videos created for the Public Utilities Commission on issues around the environment, green technology, and employment. Students’ personal projects included music videos, comedies, experimental works, narrative pieces, and documentaries.
Julia Retzlaff screened an important piece that she made for the organization HollaBack!, which strives to bring awareness to the impact of street harassment on women nationally. Her public service message, STOP., featured many voices acted out by a single female who is being followed by a stranger through a dark urban landscape.
BAVC Media board member and filmmaker (and youth program alum) Edgardo Cervano-Soto hosted a post-screening Q&A with Gonzalez during which students came up on stage to talk about creating the work that was shown, the challenges they faced, and what they would take from their time in The Factory.
“In my own experience with street harassment, as well as talking to fellow teenage girls, I realized how everyone experienced similar situations and felt the same things,” Retzlaff said, reflecting on the impetus for STOP. “The idea to create a story out of multiple interviews came from this realization.”
Retzlaff also discussed how the filmmaking process can change how ideas take form. “My experience with making documentaries has always been: you don’t know what you’ll have till you finish making the film. The montage of faces at the end of the piece was something I decided on towards the end of production, a last minute addition that ended up being the climax of the piece. Originally, we were going to have multiple actresses in the film, but because of time constraint we just filmed with one. But that also added another level to the piece, that one girl’s experience is also experienced through many other girls.”
Watch STOP. and the other incredible work from Dark Room below: