Documentary Filmmaking in Action

In the fall trimester, the Documentary Filmmaking class began production on a short film covering the disappearance of the campus pigs. The documentary, a joint-effort by the entire class, was the group’s capstone project. Through interviews, re-enactments, and photography, the class produced a film that blends the best of story-telling and comedy.


The class, led by Sydney Bowie CdeP 2010, studies the techniques of professional filmmakers, covering the intricacies of sound design, shot composure, story, and lighting. While learning from the masters of the craft, students are also given the opportunity to practice their own skills. After familiarizing themselves with the operation of the video and sound equipment, the students dived into projects. The class’s first assignment, which sent students off to interview a group Senior head tour guides, challenged the young filmmakers to make the best use of setting and content. The final film has been used by the admission office.



During the second trimester, though the faces in the class have shifted, the curriculum has remained constant: learn from the best and apply those lessons through hands-on practice. Over Community Service day, Bowie took a group of four students to St. Joseph’s Health and Retirement Center to interview two residents and a staff member. The interviews allowed students to engage thoughtfully with the Ojai community while encouraging a careful eye for story. In the coming weeks, students will edit the captured footage stitching the interviews together in a film that relates the three, separate narratives. DSC_0090.jpg

While course offerings for the third trimester have yet to be solidified, it is likely Bowie and her class will continue producing short-films in the Spring. Whether they stick with documentary-style pieces or stretch into narrative-based films, Thacher students can be sure to see the class dashing through campus with a tangle of microphones, tripods, and cameras. DSC_0079.jpg

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