Posted by: Noni | July 30, 2019

Lost but not forgotten – Vimeo Video Prize

I couldn’t believe it when I received an email, on an outdated account that auto-forwards, that someone liked my video on Vimeo. I thought, I don’t have an account on Vimeo for video??? But I followed the link and low and behold their it was, the full 22 minute version of a drunk driving re-enactment that I produced way back in 2003.

I’d love to know what these kids are up to today, young adults now, since we worked on this amazing project.

Every 15 Minutes (IMDb) was a logistical challenge to shoot since it was a live performance (re-enactment of true events) with a massive cast. Real life heroes; police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, teachers, doctors, emergency room staff, mortuary employees, detectives, city workers and students joined the technical crew to produce a realistic depiction while exposing the repercussions of drinking and driving.

I’m not sure what the statistics are today but back in 2003 Every 15 Minutes someone died as a result of an alcohol related traffic accident. The preparation for this project was over 6 months long; rehearsals, counseling sessions for the teens, meetings with parents and community, liaison with hospital and emergency services… it took a village! More accurately, it took the City of Hawthorne, California.

The event was planned and executed with military precision timing. From a video production standpoint we had 9 camera operators who followed the real-time action, multiple locations, over 24 wireless microphones (editing was super challenging) and an outdoor sound system to broadcast live audio to the 1500 students who were seated in grandstands erected by the city for the occasion.

A special effects and make-up crew from CSI (television show) arrived at the crack of dawn to make our students look convincingly dead or mangled.  One of the parents broke down weeping over her daughters body in the ER at Hawthorne Hospital where she was pronounced ‘dead‘ shortly after her arrival. I don’t know how she did it, but that young actress never broke character, even with her mother sobbing on her shoulder. (While editing that footage I could hear the camera operator sniffling.)

I stayed up all night sifting through the footage to select clips to play at the ‘Memorial’ assembly in the high school auditorium the next day. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. All in all, it was a highly emotional experience for not only the students that were involved but the entire student body, the teachers, parents, cast and crew. It’s an experience I will never forget; one of the most demanding projects I have ever been involved in, but also the most impact-full and rewarding.

I was recently asked by the main organizer and event producer, Sgt Jim Royer (now Captain) if I would be interested in making a new version. It would be an honor to work with him again.

Jim Royer of the Hawthorne Police Department is one of the most caring and dedicated law enforcement officers I have ever met. The impact he had on the kids, parents and community is priceless.  His passion elevated the professionalism and raised the bar to an extraordinary height.

I have copies of the DVD I created on that memorable day but didn’t remember posting this clip online.  Each of the students from the Graduating class received a copy of the documentary which also included behind the scenes and footage from the assembly. TRT 97 minutes.

Dedicated to all those who have lost their lives because someone drove impaired.

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