Synopsis: This short documentary tells a condensed version of Youssou Fall’s journey from being a college student in Senegal to beloved wood shop teacher at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco. Youssou reveals how he first got involved in woodworking, how he came to Lick, why he believes shops are important, and what his hopes are for the future of the program.
About the film: I decided to make a documentary that told someone’s story who we don’t usually hear. This is important to me because it helps me recognize and use my own privilege to shine light on others who may not have the time or opportunity to share their stories. Additionally, I have a very personal connection to Youssou because I went to his village with him and other classmates last summer to finish building a schoolhouse. Youssou has a unique story that is unknown to many in our community.
My film is about 5 minutes long and was inspired by the interactive style, as it is based on an interview that I prompted. I watched a documentary by __(someone that Ms. Greer recommended)__ about JFK’s assassination. Even though this wasn’t about my topic (which is hard to find), I really liked this film because of the way that B roll was used and how and when the viewer was shown old footage, new footage, and interview footage (this was really relevant to my film). For my found footage, I used film of industrial arts recommended by Ms. Greer from the Internet Archive.
Strengths and Challenges: I believe one of my strengths in this process was having plenty of found and newly filmed footage. I had a lot of footage to choose from. A challenge I encountered was deciding how to trim down Youssou’s story and tell it in 5 minutes. Obviously, I couldn’t use everything, and that selection process was very difficult in terms of content and physical editing.
I briefly mentioned these two outings in my other posts and I consider them some of my favorites from this semester.
My first impression of this class was that it would be lots of fun and all new to me. We had tea, great popcorn, and watched Noir Films for the first time at the Castro Theater. We had learned some basic film techniques before this face to face meeting, and while I watched these films for the first time, I was actually noticing several of the techniques we had just learned. That was very exciting for me. I noticed all kinds of things such as use of light, shadows, rule of thirds, composition, dollying, etc. that I would’ve never noticed before. Such a cool experience in a cool place!
My other favorite face to face experience was when we went to the Musee de Mechanique followed by a visit to the Exploratorium. There were so many incredible and entertaining things that we saw and experienced that day that I can’t cover them all. But there are two things that stand out to most in my mind. One was the Batman Zoetrope. I’m a lowkey Batman fan and Lego fan, so that added to the appeal of the zoetrope. That, plus the combination of the music and how shockingly well the lights tricked your eyes into seeing logically impossible motion was addicting. I think I may have watched the zoetrope ten times that day. Here’s a video I took of it (because I loved it so much). Please excuse the black bar across the screen. I guess camera don’t pick up strobe lights the same way our eyes do.
Musee de Mechanique:
My second highlight of that day was watching a series of artistic films that were curated for us by Ms. Greer’s friends. Although I left feeling slightly dizzy, I found the films very intriguing. They were a completely new genre of film to me and I really loved getting the chance to see that.
All of these viewings, experiences, and our own projects have really helped me gain a greater appreciation for filmmakers, the film-making process, animators, and artists in general.
One of our film assignments was to do a Motion Study. We payed a visit to Musee de Mechanique near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco to see some of the oldest arcade games and earliest forms of film. I was actually really impressed with how entertaining early games and motion pictures are. They are so simple, yet so captivating. I also loved studying Muybridge’s work with Leeland Stanford’s racehorse because of the blend of history, science, film, and California’s history as well.
For my motion study, I wanted to animate something fun and make the objects look like they were doing something very human without a human presence. I was partly inspired by an exhibit I saw at the Exploratorium where inedible objects such as plastic dies, yarn, leather, and paper were combined with the magic of animation to make them look like real edible food. From these ideas, I decided to create, “Omelette In Motion,” a short story about how some omelette ingredients get together and decide they don’t need anyone’s help to make themselves into a delicious omelette.
My first project in the Bay Area Cinema class was to make a short film inspired by film noir. This was my first formal film class and I had no clue what film noir was. However, after watching a couple film noir movies at the Castro Theater with my classmates (one of my favorite face to face outings) and doing some research at home, I caught on to a common theme: shadows. In particular, I watched “Number 17” by Alfred Hitchcock for his use of shadows to create suspense.
I call my short film, “The Shadow,” after what I was inspired most by. I shot this film on a Canon camera (I can’t remember exactly what the model is right now). Want to see what happens when you’re home alone with only shadows as company? Watch “The Shadow” here: