Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking – The Pizza Chronicles


This is the first post by Elke/ I hope others will contribute to this blog about kids making movies as well.


Last term, at the after school classes at PS 372 (NYC), twelve 3rd and 4th graders and first time documentary movie makers set out to learn about documentaries. We watched excerpts from Fast, Furious and Out of Control, Spellbound, Food Inc and others. The future Michael Moores first explored topics from “Where do M&Ms come from?” (Benjamin’s favorite) “Local Artists we know” (Lia’s mom and Daniella’s aunt have studios), ” The Old Stone House,” “New York’s smallest bridge” (right around the corner from the school) and more.
They finally settled on a topic they all really love: Pizza…
We first did some (pizza-related!) camera tests: “Best Pizza Toppings.” (kids-make-movies edit) Students also edited their own versions in iMovie “Best Pizza Topping” (James’ edit). In nine weeks, students worked in teams on two different documentaries about pizza, “Pizza Rox” and “Pizza My Friend.”
They interviewed the pizza makers at Bencotto’s on location (thanks Bencotto’s!), filmed live pizza dough action, spoke with customers and took location photos. They edited their footage in iMovie, with pizza photos, music (Adriano Celentano), sound effects (most popular was iMovie’s “cow moo” for some reason), their own voiceover and titles. Daniella created the artwork for the DVD cover:

For future projects, we will work on developing the skills they acquired in this class:
* how to find locations and choose camera angles – close-up (CU) medium shot (MS) long shot (LS), high and low angle
* how to set up an interview and how to frame the person you interview
* what questions to ask and how
* how to integrate voiceover
* how to research online
* how to use material in a documentary
* how to present different points of view (POV)

In the pizza documentaries everybody had of course the same point of view: Pizza Rox!!!