By Mai Ngoc Châu, firstname.lastname@example.org
MEDFIELD — At 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14, students of Medfield High School and their families converged at Patriot Place for the premiere of the first ever feature-length documentary about the Warriors’ boys hockey team.
The 2-hour, 45-minute movie, “A Season to Remember,” was made by only one person: Dylan Dugas, a 2012 graduate of Medfield High.
“I am the only person with the camera, the only person doing the audio, doing all the interviews. Everything is completely made by me,” said Dylan, who taught himself to shoot and has been making films since he was in the fifth grade.
The idea of making an in-depth film about the school hockey team came to Dylan in the summer of 2011, when he was with his best friends, who are two of the captains of the team.
“We have the inspiration from the show “24/7” on HBO,” Dylan said. “They follow around the two hockey teams leading up to the Winter Classic. It’s really well done, with great music in it.”
Before starting the film, Dylan said he watched the show a lot, to look at the techniques, filming angles and styles of filmmaking, as well as how the HBO people do the interviews.
He began filming in late September, when the hockey season began, and ended filming in March, when the season ended.
In more than five months, he recorded everything the hockey team did, including the captain’s practices at 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning; every game and practice; bus rides; locker room speeches; and celebrations. That resulted in 70 hours of footage, which equals 1.3 terabytes of space on his computer.
For the 18-year-old — who had never before made a feature-length documentary — it wasn’t easy editing the 70 hours of footage into a two-hour film.
“It is a very long process,” he said. But the more challenging part, he said, is keeping the film interesting, because so much of it is the same thing — hockey.
“I always try to come up with different ways of editing the film and editing the games,” Dylan said. “With 23 games to go through, it is challenging to make it different.”
To make it more interesting, Dylan said he also filmed extra stuff other than just the hockey to put in between the games.
Toby Carlow, head coach for the hockey team, said what Dylan has done was “a great idea and a very special thing for not only Dylan but for the whole team.”
Carlow remembered a 5 a.m. on a cold Friday morning at Iorio Arena in Walpole. He walked down the stairs to go to the rink, and the camera was there to capture all the players walking into practice.
“That meant Dylan had to be there a lot earlier to set that shot up,” Carlow said, “which to me showed just how invested in this project Dylan was and still is.”
The filming gave him a whole new respect for the players, Dylan said. “As much as none of us wanted to get up at that time, I think I can speak for everyone on the team that we would give up anything to be back at that rink at 5 in the morning.”
He said he became a member of the team just as much as any other player. That he and the team spent so much time together, traveling to all the rinks, made them close friends.
“It was the best experience I’ve had in all of my four years at high school,” Dylan said. He counts the nine seniors — out of 23 players on the team — as his best friends.
“The bond that builds between a hockey team is unrivaled by any other sport,” he said. “Not only did I get to experience it, but I filmed it.”
Dylan also produced the film. He used his savings to cover the production, which he said didn’t cost a lot.
“Just two wireless microphones that I gave the coaches every game and practice and sometimes the players,” Dylan said. “I just had to buy some more digital storage for my computer and memory cards for my camera.”
Although his first documentary, Dylan said the hockey team film would be somewhere around his 50th film in total. Most of his previous efforts were two-to-15 minutes long.
“Filmmaking is really my passion, and I will do it for the rest of my life,” he said. “I can’t see myself doing anything else than filmmaking.”
With a goal of becoming a professional filmmaker, Dylan is looking forward to studying at California’s Art Center College of Design, where he will major in directing and cinematography.
But that will be in September.
Right now, he is basking in the glow of the first screening of his documentary.
The full-length trailer for “A Season to Remember” has drawn more than 1,750 views since it was posted on YouTube in April. See it for yourself at http://bit.ly/TozjKF.
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