high school film course

Film Production & Screenwriting

Our film course is a comprehensive, year-long seminar in filmmaking. While there is often a desire among students to create short, YouTube-like content, this course encourages them to produce personal projects with greater depth. In their first semester, students will cultivate an understanding of film terminology and techniques through hands-on projects. During this process, storytelling is a key focus, and students learn to evolve their stories into a professional, screenplay format.

During the second semester, finished screenplays move into the production phase. Students work together and participate in a range of capacities in the filmmaking process, which include operating a camera, directing, acting in their own and each other’s films, and learning more advanced editing techniques.

The year culminates with students showcasing their completed films during school assemblies, and many will choose to submit their works to the Ojai Young Filmmakers Competition. This annual competition is a fantastic opportunity for students to learn from, and to celebrate the work of, young filmmakers beyond our campus.

Some recent examples of student work can be found below, with more available on our school videos page or by visiting our YouTube channel.

Student Films

End-of-Year Group Project 2017

In 2017, film students created an end-of-year group project included storyboarding, acting in, filming, and each student editing their own version. It was a collaborative and creative process with some very fun results. With the Besant Hill School campus as its backdrop, the story takes us on a series of mysterious dream-like journeys into the land of what-ifs.

Simeon Hu ’16

For his 2015 film final, Simeon produced a film featuring a self described “typical Chinese student” longing for support from his mother to pursue his musical ambitions.

Andy Shen ’15

A beautiful film highlighting the natural beauty of our campus. A 2015 graduate, Andy Shen is a talented photographer and filmmaker who had a solo show and published a book of photography. Click here to view a gallery of Andy’s photos from his years at Besant Hill School.

Michael Hopkins ’16

In 2015, Michaels’s film “Closer” came in first in Ojai’s Annual Young Filmmakers Competition. As part of the Media Team, Michael has contributed wonderful films on school events. To support a winning bid for class of 2016’s co-president, he and fellow students made a creative ‘propaganda’ video! See this and other videos below.