#Graduation #GraduationMovie #StarWars
I have just graduated, as a member of the class of 2017. June 9th marked the end of 4 wonderful years at HEC, and, as tradition commands, a very special film was shown at the end of the graduation ceremony. This ritual is something everybody knows about at HEC. You may dread it or be eager to share this moment with family and friends, but you know the day will come. Why? Because everybody has seen at least once a graduation movie shot on campus, reinventing stories via the HEC prism. And in March, I had the amazing opportunity to be part of the shooting crew that produced the 2017 HEC Graduation Movie, 5th of its kind.
Two amazing artists, both members of the class of 2017, led the project this year. Grégoire Von Rakowski directed and produced the short movie, adapted from Star Wars, while Sarah Ohayon starred in the main role and took care of costumes and make-up. Both of them had much experience in the field and had already taken part in professional productions. They had planned everything for months, hiring professionals, such as a director of photography and a steadycamer, but when came the actual shooting in March, they needed a team on campus to help them. This is where I stepped in.
Along with two other members of the class of 2017, Tiphanie Azzam and Charlotte Lucas, I was named “location manager”. In short, we had to make sure that we could film where we would film, that everything would be ready on time, that people on set would have enough to eat and to drink, that the crew could communicate between one another, etc. It was a difficult job, especially for people who did not know much about it, just like us.
One day before the shooting, real things began to happen: going shopping, managing the arrival on campus of costumes and pieces of equipment, and getting all the walkie-talkies from the security office were part of the many things I did on that day. Even though it was kind of stressful, it was really great to meet a lot of people who work on campus but whom we don’t see very often. Everybody was happy to help and I was really looking forward to what would happen on the next day.
We had only two days to shoot a full ten-minute long short movie, with at least a dozen scenes in various locations, both uphill and downhill in the park. There was no time to spare. During more than 12 hours, I saw what a real shooting looks like. I even got to play a little part as a stormtrooper, and although it was not at all easy to walk with the costume on it was a lot of fun! Of course, most of the day was spent walking across the entire campus to find items, to make sure that things were ready, to pick up lunch or to cover windows to filter light, but it was all very enriching.
Friday was the second and final shooting day. Some other problems arose, which had to be fixed as soon as possible. The crew was very demanding as well to produce the best movie possible, and I probably wouldn’t have made it without Charlotte’s and Tiphanie’s fantastic help. As darkness grew, there was only one last scene remaining. We were at the cave, a spot famous among HEC students for its mysterious atmosphere, and sunset only intensified the impression. The scene was shot inside the cave, with students dressed up as Jedi. And since someone could not join us finally, I had the chance to get a second role in the movie, this time as a “good guy”! Soon after that night fell, and after we cleaned up everything, it would be time to return to normal life. Grégoire and Sarah would work for another two months, to edit, add SFX and music to the movie: in short to give it its final shape.
I am back under the tent. Before I even know it, I am jumping up and down, my arms around the shoulders of some of my closest friends. This is the end of the movie, the end of the ceremony, the end of our time at HEC, the end of more than 20 years at school. One last Connemara, the dionysiac hymn which tolls the end of parties on campus. One last time, we celebrate all together, honoring our presence on campus. After a final series of notes, music stops.
This is it, I am an HEC alumnus. I belong to the family.