Hyp-na-mo-tized: The Return of Murdoc from Agassiz Baldwin Community on Vimeo.
The evil Murdoc is hypnotizing children, but her plan is thwarted when Special Agent Rex realizes that “the secret of not getting hypnotized is not getting hypnotized.” “Hyp-na-mo-tized: The Return of Murdoc” is a 10-minute film conceived, written and performed by 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in Agassiz Baldwin Afterschool (with a little help from teachers Duncan Pelletier and Easton Smith). At the Community Art Center’s national youth film festival, Do It Your Damn Self Jr., “Hyp-na-mo-tized” was chosen as one of the ten best films—and it’s easy to see why.
The film’s quirky sense of humor displays the unique sensibility of its creators: one of Murdoc’s hypnotized minions addresses a fire extinguisher as if it were a person, and, in another scene, an actor wearing a paper beard to portray an old man says “let me just shave” and rips off the beard. Children were primarily responsible for brainstorming the concept, planning out the scenes, and even improvising dialogue. This is not a film created by adults for child actors; it is a film that uses the skills of adult camera operators and directors to capture the ideas and personalities of children.
This film’s success is due partly to Agassiz Baldwin Afterschool’s approach. “The program is structured to not only bring out the best in the children, but also the employees,” says teacher Marlene Boyette. Maria Laine, the Director of Children’s Programs, hires teachers who are “interested in everything under the sun,” and the curriculum evolves through a collaboration between teachers and students. Each day, children select from two possible activities; some clubs last for an afternoon while some continue for 8-10 weeks, allowing for projects that take more than a single lesson to master, such as calligraphy—or filmmaking.
Agassiz Baldwin Afterschool for 1st-5th graders begins on September 3rd and kindergarten afterschool begins on September 4th. Open house for 1st-5th grade afterschool takes place on September 2nd from 3-5 pm. at the Maria L. Baldwin School, 28 Sacramento Street, Cambridge. The two open houses for the kindergarten afterschool are on September 2nd and 3rd from 3-5 pm. at the Agassiz Baldwin Community, 20 Sacramento Street, Cambridge.
“Hyp-na-mo-tized” is available at Agassiz Baldwin Community’s Vimeo page: http://vimeo.com/agassizbaldwin.