Wednesday, May 23, 2007

[ePalestine] Romeo & Juliet to modern-day Ramallah (REQUEST FOR SUPPORT)

Dear friends,

As the world crumbles around us, again, efforts on the ground are many to save the sanity of the children that are the real victims of this warmonger world.

Below is a message from an American friend, Doug Hart, who, until recently, use to teach at the school my daughter attends, Friends School (his exit from Palestine was partly due to the threat of Israeli denial of entry into the West Bank).  He is requesting support and I would like to ask if anyone on this list can help.  If needed, he advises there is a Michigan 501c3 nonprofit that is willing to take the contributions, purchase the software, and then give it back to the kids. 

If you can help, please contact me or Doug Hart directly at .

Trying to bring normalcy to a generation,

------- Forwarded message follows -------

To: (Sam Bahour)
Subject:            to Sam Bahour from Doug Hart
Date sent:         Mon, 14 May 2007 15:39:38 +0000


Hope you're well! 

I wonder if you might be willing to contribute some money to a youth film project in Ramallah. 

As you know, I am no longer teaching at [Friends Boys School] FBS. Still, I find myself continuing to work with my former students, trying to help them complete projects we initiated together. My goal is to make sure these projects achieve success. 

The specific project I am writing to you about -- a student docudrama on Romeo & Juliet -- was birthed in January 2006 at a meeting between me and almost a dozen of my gifted 10th grade students. These kids appreciated Shakespeare and loved the Romeo & Juliet play; they also had an interest putting together a student-film.  

And so, these ambitious students initiated what would prove to be a rather lengthy process of putting together a DVD production contextualizing the story of Romeo & Juliet to modern-day Ramallah (while still relying on the original play script and Old English). They determined early on to loosely pattern their script after Al Pacino's "Looking for Richard" (a docudrama on Shakespeare's Richard the 3rd). 

Since that time 14 months ago, my students have invested hundreds of hours into turning their docudrama into a reality. Now, almost all of their pre-production work is done. 

Here's a brief history of what has been accomplished: 

First, last school year, each of my 11 participating students (known as the R & J team) became thoroughly versed in the Romeo & Juliet story as well as low-budget filmmaking. Each of them read books on student digital filmmaking, completed extensive worksheets on characters and the plotline, and, finally, at the close of last school year, memorized what happened in every single scene of the entire play. On top of all of this, they met regularly after-school last year, discussing the play and its themes, and how it might all flesh out in Ramallah. 

Second, after 6 months of hard work, the script is complete. Scriptwriting began in earnest in June of last year and concluded in December. Two of my most able students served as scriptwriters. I worked with them after school hours, almost weekly, to complete their task. In my opinion, their polished script is perceptive, creative, and based on a good understanding of the play. 

Third, over the past several months, a cast has been assembled, storyboards have been developed, and logistics for filming have become the priority. 

Fourth, all of the filming equipment for shooting has been procured. My students have boom and wireless lapel mics, tripods, and two prosumer HD Sony camcorders. Also, a lighting apparatus is evidently being made available by Reuters News Service in the West Bank. 

Okay, now let me share where we're presently at with all of this: 

The R & J team has scheduled the shooting of their docudrama for June, immediately following final school exams. They have asked me to come and help them. Basically, my job will be to provide moral support, help put out occasional fires, and maintain discipline. I plan to be with them from June 10 through 17. 

Now, the point of my note: 

Once the filming is completed in June, my students want to immediately begin their post- production work (editing, music embedding, and graphics). Their goal is to complete the final phase of this project by the end of August. After that, they intend to shop their production to film festivals around the world, beginning in late fall of this year. 

In addition to this, a friend of mine in Grand Rapids - where I live - has committed to premiering this student film in one his movie theaters. Local secondary Drama, Film, English, and Global Studies teachers will be invited to attend. Of course, this is contingent upon the production being good enough. Of course, the first premier will need to occur in Ramallah (probably goes w/o saying). 

Okay, here's the challenge: 

My kids do not have the editing software they need to successfully execute the post- production phase. 

Happily, two students attended film camp last summer and learned how to use Apple's Final Cut Pro movie-editing software. Understandably, they are requesting Final Cut Pro software to use for their post-production work. 

I want to supply them with this because they need it to complete their work. My difficulty is that I do not feel financially healthy enough to cover it. I will, however, be bringing an Apple laptop for the kids when I come in June. 

And so my request: Would you consider underwriting the Final Cut Pro editing software? The total cost would be $1,299. See more details at the bottom of my note. I did a little cut and paste from the Apple website.  

My apologies for making this note so long. I just felt you might need a more detailed elaboration on the project before receiving my request for support. 

As you know, I am back in West Michigan now, and would be more than happy to talk to you via phone about this. Of course, you can reach me by email as well. 

Thanks for your indulgence, Sam! 


Final Cut Studio 2 
Final Cut Studio 2 is the must-have upgrade to Apple's award-winning video and audio production suite. With six powerful applications, each designed specifically for editors, Final Cut Studio 2 puts everything you need in a single box: 

- Final Cut Pro 6 for video and film editing 

- Motion 3 for graphics and animation in 3D 

- Soundtrack Pro 2 for professional audio post-production 

- Color, a new application for professional color grading and finishing 

- Compressor 3 and DVD Studio Pro 4 for digital delivery virtually anywhere -- a disc, the web, Apple TV, iPod, or cell phone 

------- End of forwarded message -------


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