DODDS students get creative at Far East fest in Tokyo
TOKYO — More than 100 students have gathered Temple University’s Japan campus for DODDS’ annual Far East Film and Creative Expressions festival.
The students — from 14 Defense of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific and Defense Departments schools in Guam — are spending the week with experts in the arts and video, gaining “expertise that they can take with them back to their schools and better themselves and their programs as a result,” said Joe Mancuso of Guam High, one of the event’s co-directors.
“There are things you can do here that you can’t learn in the classroom,” Mancuso said, adding that in some cases, students learn more in the four days than they might in a particular class back home.
Just like other Far East events, students are grouped together from different schools for the four days. Videography students learn pre- and post-production and story gathering and planning, while art students work in fields varying from mixed media, print making, graphic design, water- and acrylic-color among others.
“Students get the chance to come out … and see different people, different teachers and get to learn different techniques, plus they get the cultural experience of Tokyo,” said Kaoru Sakurai, an assistant professor at Temple who’s worked as one of the event’s coordinators. “Sharing ideas, energy, inspiration, it makes each other stronger and better, the things they obtain – it’s very exciting.”
Teaching comes from Temple professors, DODDS teachers and industry pros. One of them is a Los Angeles-based TV producer, Noah DeBonis, a 2006 graduate of Robert D. Edgren High School in Japan. He credits Edgren’s videography class for “completely altering” his life’s path.
“As a former student who’s now making a living doing this … it’s OK to take that leap and follow that passion,” DeBonis said.
Students said the festival was achieving its purpose.
“There’s so much information about not just camera work, but how to deliver a good story and how to partner your camera with the story,” Zama American junior Madison Ward said.
“You learn so many methods and techniques,” said Nile C. Kinnick senior Aya Stewart while working on a water color painting.
Instruction takes up much of the first two days. Students then continue working on art projects and filming stories before Thursday’s final exhibition, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Takanawa Kumin Center near the Temple campus.