Freshman Ben Kapit is already a “big man on campus” at GDS. He is known throughout the high school for his dedication to and accomplishments in filmmaking, a branch of the arts less prominent in our otherwise artistically diverse community. Although Kapit is new to GDS, he has already begun to make his mark on the curriculum itself. He is collaborating with art teacher Adrian Loving to design and reboot a once popular filmography course for the coming school year. The film and video creative workshop will be the only class at GDS dedicated solely to videography, providing an outlet for aspiring filmmakers at the school. In the past, the course was popular primarily among students hoping to find an easy way to fulfill their studio arts requirement. However, Loving said, “This year will be different because we’ve taken a role in recruiting students with a real interest in film.” The class will also provide opportunities for less-experienced students to be involved as production assistants, actors, and crew members. Loving is confident that the new curriculum will allow students to explore their outer creative reaches, possibly leading to competitive engagement in film festivals. “Look forward to some great films being made next year,” Loving said.
Furthermore, Kapit’s initiative in pursuing his passion for filmmaking outside the classroom is especially extraordinary. He started “Ace of Spades Productions” as a rising ninth grader at Green Acres School, and the company has been producing films steadily. His first distributed mini-series, “One Door Over,” has experienced a surprising level of success among GDS’s student body, especially among ninth graders. New projects like a second season of “One Door Over” and a short film about aliens entitled “BELiEVE” are forthcoming. Kapit attributes the popularity of his films to many students’ ability to relate to them. He often focuses on adolescents’ challenges in navigating the perils of teen relationships, saying, “Love is rough, and I try to capture that.”
As a new student, Kapit’s school life has been heavily shaped by his devotion to film. “I am now known as ‘that film guy,’ but that also allows me to connect better with people,” he said. Kapit has felt welcomed and supported by the GDS community in his pursuit of filmmaking, particularly by the arts department. He has even made an effort to incorporate fellow students such as freshmen Sheppy Lewin and Ben Jones in his productions. Kapit was hired by the school to film the Winter One Acts, one of his first paid gigs. Despite his relative success, Kapit does not mean to paint a completely rosy picture of what being a filmmaker means. “Film is a tough medium; it’s hard to do, it’s hard to master,” he said. However, Kapit still encourages anyone interested in film to try their hand at it, if only for the camaraderie and collaboration. “Seeing the end product, what you’ve created, is wonderful,” Kapit concluded.