After 11 weeks at a Jewish summer camp and 40 hours of footage, junior Pam Schuller has made a documentary relating to her independent major which deals with community and the arts.
As a member of the leadership staff at the camp that was not explicitly an entertainment camp, but heavily incorporated entertainment aspects such as singing and dancing, she was in charge of all of the art events on in the camp, including directing shows. Her movie documents the lives of children at the camp and her experience as being one of their leaders.
“It is what I did, what I learned, and what others can take away from it,” said Schuller.
The main thing she focused on was the “Project,” the play that the oldest kids, ninth and tenth graders, work on in secret and then perform for the rest of the camp.
“In the past, the Project was the biggest disaster ever,” said Schuller. The camp managers were counting on Schuller to turn this area of camp around. She wrote the play as a parody of the camp and she wrote a line for every one of the 100 or more kids who were involved with the show, but they were given the option to perform in groups. Those who performed their lines in pairs were required to speak more than once.
She tried to involve the kids more and was therefore more successful than her Project predecessors were. As the play was a parody of a camp, there was a lot more freedom for creativity in the project, especially when it came to costuming.
“One camper came to me and said ‘I have this dress and I want to use it for the play’ and I was like ‘OK come write a part for it with me,’” said Schuller.
Schuller also got the kids involved with the filming of her documentary.
“One kid in the first half of the camp was acting out and painting all over everything, including people, and so I had my camera and I told him to film with it. Some of my best footage came from him,” Schuller said.
She also extended her leadership role into caring for the homesick children.
“One of the little girls cried everyday and did not want to get out of her bed. So I worked with her for ten, fifteen minutes everyday with my camera,” said Schuller. Eventually, she was able to work with the girl enough that they were able to incorporate the other girls in the cabin and “make a commercial about their cabin theme.”
The documentary “Come and Get Me, I Hate It Here!” uses her original footage from the camp, Schuller speaking, footage shot by the campers, reenactments by Knox students, and text between scenes. It is Schuller’s first movie attempt and she is happy with it.
“I am proud of it because this was my first attempt at a movie and I feel like I accomplished what I attempted to do, both in the movie and dealing with the kids,” said Schuller. She did not feel it was easy and she is willing to admit mistakes but she is proud of the work she accomplished.
Her 45-minute documentary will be showing on Tuesday May 27 at 4:30 p.m. in the Round Room. Snacks will be served.