Beautiful mountains, scenery, people and culture – the perfect setting for creativity! Asheville, North Carolina has a long history of inspiring arts and crafts of all types, from pottery, to painting, to acting, and to brewing, to name a few. What better place to have a school focused on visual storytelling as well?
Filmmaking has often been described as the most complex way of telling a story which draws on many, if not most, artistic disciplines in the process. When watching a film, the viewer is transported to an imaginary world where they not only are coaxed to set aside disbelief and accept what they are viewing as reality, but also experience various emotions. Such intentional feelings are accomplished through a skillfully crafted combination of techniques. Each crew member contributes to the process their own specific talents, training, skills and experience. The crew list often includes writers, directors, assistant directors, actors, extras, cinematographers, camera operators and assistants, lighting technicians, grips, sound recordists, costume designers, hair and makeup artists, set designers, carpenters, painters and set decorators, stunt performers, physical and digital effects artists, sound designers, foley artists, and music composers.
Being such a multi-faceted art form requires numerous planned steps by the film crew. Step one is Pre-Production, the planning phase, which is usually the longest and sometimes the most difficult part of the process. The logistics of setting up a film are extremely complex, even on the smallest project and require great tenacity. Step two is Production, when the film is actually shot. Production is usually the shortest overall part of the process, but it is definitely the most intense. Long hours, sometimes difficult and uncomfortable conditions, and hard work mixed with intense periods of creative interaction are the norm. That being said, it is also the part that of the process that most filmmakers live for, even crave! Then finally Post-Production brings everything together through picture and dialog editing, sound effects, music and digital effects if required. Every filmmaking step is vital and influences the final product!
As you may expect, formal education in filmmaking is critical in developing the diverse skill set needed to create a quality film. The Asheville School of Film is a new partnership of Asheville resident filmmakers who have decades of experience not only as independent and commercial filmmakers, but as teachers of the the principles of filmmaking as well. Their goal is to provide the local area with specialized education in the various aspects of the craft, especially as the film industry in the Southeast continues to grow and the demand for trained film crew increases. They want to encourage youth to explore their interests of film, and help adults gain more knowledge and experience. In addition they hope to collaborate in the future with local acting groups, such as NYS3 (New York Studio for Stage, Screen and Voiceover) and the Screen Artists Co-op for mutually beneficial film projects.
Currently, the School will be offering short term classes and seminars, with the hope that attendees can also have time for work, family, and other classes. The kick-off program offered will be a Youth Summer Filmmaking Experience for teenagers during the first two weeks of August. The class will meet in the building that once housed the Blue Ridge Motion Picture Studios. They will conclude with a large screen projection of the group student film at the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company, held Saturday August 15th, 9 am- 12 Noon. Details can be found on their website (ashevilleschooloffilm.weebly.com) or facebook page (facebook.com/ashevilleschooloffilm).
In addition, the Asheville School of Film will soon be offering a workshop where participants can gain the experience of shooting actual 16 and 35mm traditional film- a fading medium for sure, but to many’s surprise, is still used for a significant number of major motion pictures. Even so, due to the availability of digital equipment, training on traditional celluloid can be difficult to acquire. Many filmmakers, even those with years of experience have never had the opportunity to shoot on film and are are unaware how rewarding and educational it can be. Celluloid film offers an aesthetic and technical experience currently not available in the realm of digital filmmaking. Shooting on film forces the filmmaker to truly comprehend the relationship between light and image and encourages a stronger understanding of the art of exposure. Shooting film can’t help but make participants in this workshop more disciplined digital image makers!
Per W.S. Pivetta (co-founder of Asheville School of Film)- “The era of digital filmmaking allows almost anyone access to the tools of filmmaking- but most still need to be taught the process and skills required to create a quality film. Most people wouldn’t buy a power saw and imagine they could build a house; the same logic applies to filmmaking.” The Asheville School of Film’s mission is to provide students access to the knowledge, guidance, and hands-on experience necessary to hone their skills as filmmakers. ASOF believes that while experience alone is a great teacher, experience under educated supervision produces the best product with a straighter learning curve!
As more and more projects are drawn to nearby Atlanta by enticing film incentives and new productions facilities, the need for well trained and experienced crew also expands. Support your local economy- learn filmmaking in the place Where Mountains and Movies Collide– The Asheville School of Film!