Bedford TV Premiere Celebrates Advanced Filmmaking for Kids

April 25, 2024
From left to right, top row: Farah Semy, Adam Silver, Michael Russillo, Brian Hebert, Jenn Puhle, Noah Gilbertson, and Sarah Carter. On the bottom row are Wendy Carlton, Hana Agen, Lindsey Park, Olivia Wang, Nishka Parakala, Geneva Carter, Theo Carlton, and Audrey Carlton. Missing was sophomore Matthew Dill. 

Bedford TV unveiled a 14-minute film at a premiere celebration on Sunday afternoon in the Great Room of Old Town Hall, honoring the five students, ages 11-16, totally responsible for the project.

“Practice vs. Perfect” is the outcome of almost four months of effort by Bedford High School sophomore Matthew Dill, seventh graders Hana Agen, Audrey Carlton, and Noah Gilbertson, and Lindsey Park, who is in Grade 5.

The team comprises Bedford TV’s first class in advanced filmmaking.

Sunday’s premiere was an opportunity “to see all the work that they did come to fruition,” Brian Hebert, Bedford TV’s executive director, told the audience of about 40 family members and friends.

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Michael Russillo, Bedford TV’s production manager, teaches the advanced filmmaking classes. He explained that the goal was to incorporate all of the elements that make this an authentic experience in filmmaking, from planning and scheduling to post-production deadlines.

“Brian and I wanted to teach middle and high school students things I didn’t learn until senior year in college,” he said. The result was “completely written, organized, directed, and filmed by these five advanced students.”

The 10 actors and actresses featured were recruited from among families, acquaintances, and teachers. The 19 scenes were filmed at several venues, such as John Glenn Middle School, Old Town Hall (including close-ups of feet climbing the spiral staircase), the Narrow-Gauge Rail Trail, the middle school parking lot, and some private homes.

During a lengthy question-and-answer session following the showing, the team fielded a range of questions, from how they compromised to their favorite outtakes. Gilbertson said each member dedicated between 50 and 100 hours to the project, with work beginning in early January.

When they were asked if this experience is likely to influence their future educational and occupational choices, Park pointed out that she is still in the fifth grade.

 “They have shown passion for this project every step of the way,” commented Ralph Hammond, the retired educator and longtime volunteer working with classes at Bedford TV. Every time there was a setback, “they made the best of every situation. The kids had a great time making this, and I learned so much from them.” He cited their familiarity with sophisticated editing equipment and scriptwriting software.

Students taking part in the film project included seventh grader Hana Agen, fifth grader Lindsey Park, and seventh grader Noah Gilbertson. And also from the seventh grade, Audrey Carlton. 

“We couldn’t have done this without you,” Russillo told Hammond at the premiere.

Speaking of the filmmaking team, Jenn Puhle, administrator of Bedford TV, observed, “Their personalities are all so different.” In a conversation Monday, she noted that the Covid-19 pandemic staggered in-person instruction, but some of the key people in the film project returned and became the nucleus for what is now the most popular instructional program.

Puhle was one of the actors and actresses in the show, along with Theo Carlton, Geneva Carter, Sarah Carter, Nishka Parakala, Farah Semy, Adam Silver, Olivia Wang, Dill, and Russillo 

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