Writing for Publication hosts video screening night

Joyce Varma

Students created documentaries on topics such as rallies, relations between classes, selfies and others concerning the student body.

The Writing for Publication classes presented eight out of the 12 documentary projects they created on Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. in A111. Some of the documentaries were not shown because their creators were not present at the screening. The documentaries were worked on in groups of four beginning the week after Winter Break. Students and their parents, along with Writing for Publication teachers Michelle Balmeo and Stacey Cler, were present at the screening.

Each documentary is between six to eight minutes long and focuses on a key question that the students posed relating to school and students; topics include hoodie culture, the influence of art on campus and sports’ effects on student stress. All the directing, filming and editing was done by students either during or outside of school.

“When we started to edit and load the footage in, we realized how long it would take, so we started spending lunches and sometimes after school [working],” freshman Divya Adem said.

Similarly, freshman Jackie Wai had not expected there to be as much work involved in the process as there turned out to be.

“All the movies we watch, they actually require a lot of effort. The one we made was six or seven minutes, and movies are like two hours long,” Wai said.

According to the Writing for Publication teachers, the objective of the assignment was to learn to tell stories through film in the same way the students were learning to do so in writing.

“I learned — besides how to make a documentary — how different people have different opinions, and you can relate to their opinions,” freshman Stephanie Lam said. “It sometimes is awkward for the first time … but once you go up to them and you talk to them, you get all this good information and you realize it was worth it, going out of your comfort zone.”



“Sports” |
This documentary explores the effects of playing after-school sports on students’ academic performance and stress levels.
“Beyond the Field” | This one is about rivalries in sports, namely the Helmet Game for football between MVHS and Cupertino High School, and how these rivalries affect the game. “The Search for a Typical” |
Using data from a survey of 420 students, this documentary tries to pinpoint what exactly it means to fit in and be “typical” at MVHS.
“Divergence” |
Two sets of twins, one identical and one fraternal, are compared to explore the common preconception that identical twins are similar in personality, while fraternal twins are not.
“Through the Untainted Glass” |
This is about the way students’ perceptions of school directly influence the activities they choose, as well as the way these activities shape the students’ high school experiences.
“Multitasking” |
Students and teachers are asked about their multitasking habits, and the documentary looks at the effects of these behaviors on students’ health and academic performance.
“The Perception of Priceless” |
Two students — one who earns money and one whose parents give her money — are featured in this documentary and are used to discuss the way students value their material possessions.
“Monta Vista’s Social Pyramid” |
Several freshmen and seniors are featured to explore the way that upperclassman interact with lowerclassmen and how these relationships are affected by the way each class sees the others.
“Under the Hood” |
This documentary uses the Trayvon Martin case to spark a discussion about hoodie culture at school, asking questions such as why we wear them and how they are perceived by others.
“Arts” |
This documentary explores the influence and prevalence of art on and around campus.
“School Spirit Rallies” |
This discusses students’ opinions and thoughts on rally games and traditions.
“Selfies: Vanity or Self Confidence?” |
This one explores the significance of selfies and whether they express self-confidence or vanity.


The documentary “The Art of Cosplay” was not uploaded to YouTube. It is about student involvement with cosplay and the mixed responses cosplayers receive.