Zac Gauvin, Senior, St. Edward High School
Gauvin and 11 classmates spent six months filming a documentary about Razzle Dazzle, a program at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood in which adults with developmental disabilities produce a show filled with singing, dancing and positivity. An early cut of the film premiered in March before the Razzle Dazzle performance, and a completed version debuts this month at the Beck Center’s fundraising gala. The high school filmmakers now hope to submit the 10-minute documentary to contests and festivals, including the Cleveland International Film Festival.
It was a really cool experience for me, that I could make a difference in someone’s life by simply just showing them a camera. There was this one guy named Stephen. He was really, really shy — didn’t really talk to anybody. But as soon as the camera came out, he was like a rock star.
Whenever you’d go and film, you’d just get the best footage from him.
A group of three guys and [St. Ed’s film teacher] Mr. [Nick] Kuhar would go every Wednesday from around October to March. We started watching the auditions, just collecting footage. Then after a month or two, we actually started making our documentary, piecing together the footage and adding music.
We created the film to show the individuals that were performing on stage, but we also wanted to film [a performance] so we could put elements of it into the documentary.
With Mr. Kuhar, I got to show them the [first cut of the] documentary, before the show that we filmed. Everybody started crying; they were just so happy.
I’ll admit, I cried a little bit after I saw it. When we showed them the film, I was in there — the same room that we filmed in, every week for months, with all the people we’d been there with for months. I think it all just kind of hit me at once.
It was definitely one of the coolest experiences of my entire year. At the end of it, there was this [volunteer]. She just came up to me and gave me a hug, bawling her eyes out. She was saying, “Thank you so much, thank you so much.” That made me feel really good, like I made a difference.