GBHS Media creates surfing documentary

IB Film students work with surfer Nate Acker

With Midterms behind them, the students of Granite Bay High School turn their focus to the festivities that await them during Spring Break.  

But there is one group of students on campus who have something more meaningful in mind. The International Baccalaureate Film class anxiously awaits the first impressions of the documentary  that they have worked on for months.

Half way through the fall term, the class began the process of  putting together a documentary, titled “Free,”  involving professional surfer Nate Acker.

The effort continued until the end of December when the students submitted the final product to the Student Television Network (STN) to be reviewed by professionals.

The STN is a national association where students from all over the country submit their documentaries or short stories to be reviewed.

The film was also submitted to the Northern California Media Educators Association (NCME), a local film association for students in the area. To enter into the NCME however, the team had to modify their final product.

“We had to cut down the film to be under five minutes in order to fit in the requirement for this category,” IB Film teacher Zachary Weidkamp said.

Despite the added pressure of submitting their work to be reviewed nationally, the effort that the team put into the film has shown, causing an overwhelming sense of pride in their final product.

“The most difficult part of the process was putting the film together after all the planning,” videographer Connor Vivaldi said. “The logistics like planning and getting our subjects together and establishing a time and place made the execution difficult at times.”

The media team filmed in several different locations, including Fort Point in San Francisco and West Cliff in Santa Cruz.

The team seemed enthusiastic about the “adventure” they were taken on when filming, but the one thing that was abundantly clear was the high regard that they viewed Acker with.

“He was super helpful and really easy to work with,” Vivaldi  said. “We were new to filming surfing, so he directed us to where the best place to be was and added some really helpful advice.”

“It’s always difficult to portray somebody on film, so what we really had to work at was capturing the personality and the kind of person that he is,” filmer Nash Rood said.    

The team agreed that Acker added an extra layer that the viewer could relate to because of his charisma.

Also present during the filming and editing process was Nate Acker’s daughter, Bella Acker, a junior at GBHS.

“It was really cool to be able to be with my dad during the project. I was like his little secretary during the days where we filmed,” said Bella. “It definitely adds a more personal tone to the film because my dad is the subject.”

The documentary, “Free” is having a screening in Folsom on April 20.

“For this first ‘unveiling’ of the film to the public, we’re kind of making fun of ourselves. We’re doing our own film festival, pulling out the red carpet, and dressing up,” Weidkamp said.

The film is planned to be released to the public soon, as well as the results of the film festival.