A Club of Your Filming Dreams


Jordan Lavalle, Journalist

At BCA, students are constantly taking part in exceptional activities and events — a normality in such a unique school. However, it often becomes easy to overlook regular occurrences. Clubs, for example, are not always given the attention they deserve. One of the newest clubs in BCA is “Make a Movie! BCA Film Club,” founded by two AVPA/T sophomores, Michelle Burger and Natalia Lugo. Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, these girls worked with students in numerous grade levels and academies with a variety of talents and abilities. The goal of the club is to “immerse students in the intricacy and hidden beauty behind the creation of films.” Students in this club explore the remarkable world of film and become exposed to the various fields involved, such as acting, directing, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, etc.

Given only 51 minutes per week to understand the precise and exciting work of film, groups of students worked together throughout the year to create a film of their own! The club, a three-trimester commitment, allowed each student sufficient time to dive into their films to find deeper connections, meanings, and discoveries. They gained a newfound knowledge and understanding of creating a movie, and before long, decided they need a little extra challenge.

Michelle and Natalia, eager to find a new and exciting activity for everyone in the club to benefit from, decided to represent Bergen County Academies in a multi-school 10-day film competition. This challenge, began on March 21 and concluded on April 3, and took place during the school day in free periods and club time. It required the new filmmakers to use their abilities and talents to create a 3-4 minute movie in a very limited amount of time. Instead of splitting into small groups, the club came together as a team to make one single film. About eight students with various responsibilities took part in the successful film of “A Girl of Your Dreams.” Recently, Michelle and Natalia — the directors and originators of the short film “Make a Movie! BCA Film Club” — were interviewed to discuss this unique film.

What was the film about, and what was the main idea of the story you created?

Our film was the conceptualized story of a girl who met her perfect lover — but only in her dreams. We depicted it in a trippy, and artistic way through the use of symbolism and dream-like scenes. It presents itself and is interpreted to depict the longing for self-love, the emotion of LGBT love, etc. It’s a story that leaves the viewer thinking in a new perspective.

Did any unexpected event occur during the process of creating this film? If so, how did you overcome it?

During the process, one issue that arose was the quality of our audio in some clips. It ended up that the quality was too low, and we had to re-record the audio and add it to the film while editing. We were lucky in that there were not too many technical difficulties throughout the short process, but this was one roadblock we had to work around.

How were the student filmmakers divided as each took their own responsibility in the making of the film?

The students participating in the film were divided into different jobs based on their preferences. Some worked as directors, some as actors, some as makeup artists, and some as writers. We had two starring actors, other supporting actors, two co-directors (ourselves), and four main screenwriters. One student was in charge of creating the poster — everyone had different jobs throughout the entire process.

Considering that the making of the film was restricted to school grounds, what areas of the school were used in your film?

Locations such as the costume closet hallway, the greenhouse, Ms. Crochet’s “dungeon,”  the greenery in front of the school, and the stage, all appear in our film.

Now that you finalized and created the club’s first movie, will you be taking it anywhere for screening? Will it be shown to each other during club time, or to other classes/students at BCA?

Hopefully, if our movie is selected by the judges of the film competition, it will be shown officially in local theaters and online. We are also hoping to start a film festival at our school next year, so we are hoping it could appear there as well.

What is one thing you most enjoyed doing this film challenge?

Michelle: During the film challenge, I loved working with everyone who was a part of the film, and, strangely enough, I even enjoyed the time restraint and the pressure it put on us to work faster. I also loved making creative choices, and getting closer to Ms. Carberry, the club’s supervisor, and the cast.

Natalia: I loved the creativity that I saw coming out of everyone who participated in this film. We chose to take a risk and create a more abstract piece because we decided it was better to create something that excites us rather than to play it safe. I am so proud of the way in which everyone came together and gave it their all — it was a blast!

Would you participate in this competition again next year? What would you do differently, and what would you keep the same?

We would definitely love to take part in this challenge again next year. It was a fun adventure that, although rough at times, was really enjoyable and we learned a lot from! Next time, we would definitely make sure to take care of scheduling more early on, and try to spend more time on the editing aspect of the film. We will also try to keep similar creative locations, costumes, props, and makeup. We learned so much in the short time-span of competing and creating!

The exciting thing about starting and trying something new is seeing the magic unfold for the first time. There is no doubt that these new filmmakers experienced some struggles and the unexpected. However, they overcame these obstacles smoothly and worked as an effective team in the limited amount of time they had. In the end, the “Make a Movie! BCA Film Club” succeeded in the creation of the inspiring and touching film “A Girl of Your Dreams.” As stated in the interview, Michelle and Natalia hope to continue this 10-day film challenge in the years to come, as well as continue to expand and share their growing knowledge in the art of film.