Sunday, January 30, 2000

'Picture Day' elementary for Pickering, Ohio, kids

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PARK CITY, Utah — There is no credit for “cinematographer” on Picture Day, the seven-minute film by Yellow Springs-based filmmaker Steve Bognar shown at this year's Sundance Film Festival. That's because about 300 third- and fourth-grade students operated the camera that captured images of every one of the 601 students at Tussing Elementary School in Pickering, Ohio.

        Mr. Bognar was artist-in-residence there last year when teacher Mary Sheridan, who is credited as the producer, suggested he find a way to make a film using the entire student body.

        He edited the film on tape and distributed videos around the school, and submitted one to Sundance, “because that's what you do, in case you get lucky. Well, I got lucky.”

        Faced with the unexpected challenge of creating a 35mm print, an expensive proposition for a film, like Picture Day, full of special effects, Mr. Bognar found a solution in Cincinnati at Post Production Services. The firm had recently acquired high-definition video equipment that allowed the filmmaker to re-create his original work in the new format, then create a full-size film version.

        Still, there were glitches ahead, including one day when the overnight shipping company could not find the film.

        “My film ended up getting to Sundance the day it was supposed to show (to the judging panel) with seven hours to spare,” he said. “So that's the sad tale.”


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