Accidental Hero - Room 408
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Terri & Steve

Q&A
Production Credits
Film Credits


Meet the Filmmakers

 

Why was it important to make Accidental Hero?

Terri DeBonoTerri DeBono
"I taught in high school for 14 years, and there was seldom recognition that a good job was being done. Yet, 15 years after I walked away from the classroom, I am approached by former students, now adults, on the street, in the market, at community gatherings, even at the movies. They thank me. It is always for something I taught them … or better yet… something I taught them not to do… that has lingered to this day.

It is a shame that most teachers are not acknowledged while they are doing their job. Not by students, which is understandable, but why not by their parents, or by their administrators or their community? Good teachers are lost to other fields for various reasons, but it is a crime if it's because of lack of recognition or appreciation.

Most of us have been touched or even changed by a teacher. It's never too late to tell them. Please take a moment to walk into your child's classroom and say, 'Thank you for helping Jack get through the 5th grade'."

Steve RosenSteve Rosen
"Our public school system gets beat up constantly in the press. Sure, it's old and doesn't run as well as it should, but I like old cars, and when a car gets old you either crush it or you restore it and make it a classic. Schools like Logan, where Tommie teaches, are where kids learn to work and play with people of different racial and cultural backgrounds. Our public schools need restoration, not destruction. I wanted to make a film about a successful teacher, as a model, because I wanted people to realize that there's lots of potential for making our public school system a 'classic'."

Q&A with the Filmmakers

1. Why are documentaries important to you?
2. How did you find your subject, Tommie Lindsey?
3.
How was the film shot?
4. What equipment did you use?
5. How was the film edited?
6. What is your next project?

1. Why are documentaries important to you?
STEVE: “Although we still make commercials and dramatic films, I believe that documentaries have the power to change the way people think about important issues. But in order to do that, they need to be entertaining so that they attract a diverse audience. An instructor of mine at UCLA once told me that it doesn't do any good to convince only the people that already agree with you. "
TERRI: "And documentaries shouldn't only expose society’s ills, they should provide positive answers, too. We think our films BEYOND BARBED WIRE and ACCIDENTAL HERO do that."
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2. How did you find your subject, Tommie Lindsey?
TERRI: "Steve and I were working for the California Teachers Association on a half hour news magazine show called QUEST several years ago. We were assigned to Tommie's school to do a story on diversity. The principal showed us into Room 408 at Logan High, and I was spellbound. We walked in on a rehearsal by two young men performing "JACK and JELLY". It's in the film. Having taught drama in high school, I knew what we were witnessing was miraculous. We decided we had to do a story about what was going on in that classroom. We started shooting that same year."
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3. How was the film shot?
TERRI: “Although we usually shoot on film, I realized early on that, for budget reasons, ACCIDENTAL HERO needed to be originated on DVCAM. The amount of time spent in the classroom and at tournaments watching many kids perform pieces that are 10 minutes in length demanded that the camera be running almost constantly. And, luckily, we own our own equipment.”
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4. What equipment did you use?
STEVE: “My primary camera was the DSR-300, but I supplemented it in cars and busses with the DSR PD-150. Both cameras are equipped with matte boxes and personally designed grips. Because we knew that we’d be usually shooting under flourescents, and working primarily with African Americans, I used various combinations of filters to compliment skin tones, and to keep the footage from looking all the same. As a result, Pro-mists, Soft FX, Corals, and Chocolates were interchanged throughout the 2 1/2 year shoot. Audio was recorded with a Sennheiser 416 utilizing a wireless transmitter from the mixer to the camera.”
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5. How was the film edited?
STEVE:“ACCIDENTAL HERO was edited on Final Cut Pro, versions 1.5 through 3.1., (nearly 2 years of editing) on a 533 Dual G-4. All of the split screens, graphics and audio mixing were completed using the Apple software based NLE. The show was output back to DVCAM via Firewire and clone dubbed to Digital Betacam at a post-production facility.”
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6. What is your next project?
TERRI: " I think ACCIDENTAL HERO could be made into a half hour episodic dramatic series for young teens. Do you remember DeGrassi Junior High on PBS about 12 years ago? It was great! The stories we heard and watched on a daily basis while in Tommie's classroom would make a meaningful series. The real issues that kids and teachers face each day could be at the core of every episode. I would love to develop that. Funding…that's the real obstacle. I need a champion."
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Production Credits

Terri DeBono has worked in independent film as producer, director and writer for 17 years. She and Steve Rosen formed their own production company, Mac and Ava Motion Pictures, in 1987. She taught drama in high school before becoming a documentary filmmaker. She holds an MFA in Theatre Arts from UCLA.

Steve Rosen, co-director, camera, editor, went to the UCLA film school. He originally intended to be a Director of Photography and he photographed many national television commercials and rock films (pre “videos”) while still in graduate school. But after shooting HUELGA, a student documentary about Caesar Chavez and the grape workers marching from Delano to Sacramento, he realized that his real love was documentary filmmaking.

Terri and Steve are members of The Film Arts Foundation (San Francisco), The Independent Feature Project/West & The International Documentary Association. They are both Film and Literature Fellows at California State University, Monterey Bay.

Sandra JacksonSandra Jackson, associate producer and education advisor, has a vast background and experience in all aspects of the media. She has been a radio and television writer and producer, a newspaper reporter, a wire service writer and has owned a public relations business. As a Production Consultant for CTA, Sandra first worked with Steve and Terri on Quest for Excellence, CTA's half-hour television newsmagazine about public schools. "I was thrilled at the chance to work with Steve and Terri on Accidental Hero. I know the good things that are happening in our schools and I think other people should as well. Accidental Hero is that opportunity." Brian Eady (Beno)Brian Eady (Beno), composer, began his career as a dancer, he writes, raps and produces his own music through his company, READY RECORDS. Beno is a member of ASCAP and the Independent Music Alliance of the Bay Area. Beno has recently written music for two television commercials. His latest project is Humble Beginnings, an eleven-track album, available on CD. Beno holds a BA in Sociology from Georgia State University.

Film Credits

Beyond Barbed Wire, critically acclaimed documentary narrated by Pat Morita; Three By Steinbeck, trilogy of Steinbeck short stories in international distribution; Roots Of California Photography, narrated by Jack Lemmon; Quest For Excellence, a half-hour television series about California schools hosted by Dina Eastwood; Time Captured in Painting, a CINE award winner. Terri and Steve may be reached at mac2ava@aol.com

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