Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Conference proceedings: "I've been there stories from the battlefield" - trailer

Frankel Jewish Academy of Detroit Presentation

Everything started from a basic pedagogical philosophy we have in the Hebrew department and in the school in general. We believe students should be part of the learning process. As vital partners in the educational journey, students need to be engaged in the issues discussed, and find and express their individual voices.

One of our exciting initiatives was to create “I’ve Been There: Stories from the Battlefield.” Inspired by Stephen Spielberg’s "Shoah", the students are creating a testimonial archive of Israel’s fighters who fought in the Israeli wars from 1948 to 2006. The students interview, in Hebrew, Israeli fighters who are members of their community. They record, film and edit the testimonies, adding footage and authentic music from the relevant era.

The project involves 20 students within the Israeli Politics and Social Issues course at the Frankel Jewish Academy. This is a course in Hebrew. The benefits of a project like this are enormous. First of all, it was never done before, even in Israel—nobody has collected testimonies from Israeli fighters. We would like to create this archive and share it with other Jewish day schools in the States and in Europe. The Israeli Ministry of Education is interested in this project as well. As active participants in this project the kids stretch their linguistic skills and gain firsthand knowledge of the history of Israel. I want to emphasize that the entire production is in Hebrew. Even as they are yelling directions at each other during the filming, everything is in Hebrew.

One of our school’s goals is to be a vibrant and contributing member of the Jewish educational arena. This will serve as a teaching project in other Jewish schools around the country. We believe that recording authentic testimonies from the battlefield will be a memorable contribution to the whole Jewish community around the country and will benefit generations to come.

I will open this to questions. If there are any technical questions or issues, Matt Wright can address those.

Q1: I have two quick questions: What software editing tools did you use, and what did you use to get the subtitles in?

MR. MATT WRIGHT, Frankel Jewish Academy of Detroit: On the first question, the answer is we’re using Final Cut Pro, version 5. We’re running it on a Power Mac G5. The subtitles were done in DVD Studio Pro. We have the whole Final Cut studio package and we’re using DVD Studio Pro and Final Cut editing software for this project.

Q2: Did the students do the editing, or did they just shoot the footage? Who put the final package together?

SACERDOTI: The students did everything. Before we started the project the students had about a month and a half of quick training in several areas. The cameramen, producers and editors worked with Mr. Wright on the technology that will be used during production. The interviewers worked with our social worker and me to prepare them for the interviews.

Q3: How old are they?

SACERDOTI: These are juniors and seniors.

Q4: Will this be an ongoing project that will continue?

SACERDOTI: Yes. I want to emphasize that what you’ve seen today is just a trailer. We’ve finished the first set of interviews of about eight veterans. In about a week we’ll start the second set of interviews—we’ll have about 10 more veterans to interview. We plan to continue this project for the next couple of years.

Q5: How did you identify the people you interviewed?

SACERDOTI: We got some information from the community through parents, families and grandparents. We put an ad in the Jewish News and people have contacted us. This year we are doing it in the Detroit area, but later we plan to travel to Chicago and New York.

We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to the Avichai Foundation for their support. Without it we would not have been able to do this project.

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