One year, many 'little moments' to cherish
UB student films every day for a year and creates self-reflective documentary
Tal Kissos, a senior media study major, decided to branch away from the media study department and create his own documentary about his life in 2013. Keren Baruch, The Spectrum
An iPhone 4S and the desire to make something bigger than himself.
Tal Kissos held on to those two things on Dec. 31, 2012, at 11:59 p.m.
From that moment on, Kissos began to film a documentary on his iPhonethat he believes has the ability to make an impact on the world. Each day during 2013, he videotaped a few seconds of his life.
Kissos is a senior media study major who has a passion for media and hopes to become a film director or producer. He believes that in order to succeed in the media industry after graduation, he must have hands-on film experience outside of the classroom. So in 2013, he shifted his focus from coursework to his own film, which is called Year of My Life. He said he hopes it inspires the world to appreciate life's little moments because "time is fleeting before our eyes."
The project is intended to make students realize how important it is to capture moments.
"When you're young, your head is always in some other place," Kissos said. "You're always thinking about where you have to go and what you have to do and stuff like that. You're never fully there. And this project is a way to [remind us] to look back and appreciate what we've had and to actually live in a moment."
The opening to his video takes place at a party with his friends. They are counting down the seconds to 2013, a year in which Kissos' audience has the ability to see snapshots in the 15:46 film.
"Originally, the idea was to capture a one-second video every day," Kissos said. "But then I realized I should make it more dynamic. I wanted to cut and edit it so it would be more interesting."
Reccurring themes appear throughout the documentary: friends, family and work. There's footage of Kissos working on shows he directed at UB as well as films he is producing. He captured his Israeli family several times throughout the documentary and devoted a generous focus to holidays and meal gatherings.
Kissos said the video kept him constantly on the lookout for "little moments" he wants to "cherish" and keep with him. He believes videos can better encapsulate moments than pictures.
"And that's what I'm all about," Kissos said. "Capturing moments."
Kissos had a personal goal with his plan. He wanted to sit down in the beginning of 2014 and appreciate everything he had gone through during the year. But as he continued to create his documentary, he realized others may enjoy watching moments from his life. He then realized it could have a larger impact.
Kissos hopes to continue making yearly films.
When he watches his 2014 Year of My Life compilation, he'll remember being interviewed for this article in The Spectrum.
Some of his instructors have recommended he submit his video to film festivals, but Kissos is unsure if he wants to. He knows for certain, however, that the experience improved his video skills. He used Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 to edit and put together his video.
Though Kissos does not believe UB courses have helped him succeed as a media student as much as his personal projects have, Josephine Anstey, an associate professor in the media study department, said students aiming to work in the media industry can gain proficiency in film, video production and post-production. She said the basic, intermediate and advanced video and documentary courses are beneficial.
"The courses are not specifically geared for television but the shooting and editing skills certainly apply," Anstey said. "Most recently, we are offering course material that focuses on short-video sharing apps, mobile phone image capture and fast/online editing for social networks and the web."
This spring, the media study department has launched a new lecture series open to the public. It has "cutting-edge media practitioners," according to Anstey.
Rachel Weinberger, Kissos' mother, is proud of her son for taking initiative with his filmmaking in addition to his coursework.
"Tal is very passionate about making film and dedicated to it," Weinberg said. "He has big plans to move out to California to pursue his passion and career. I have no doubts that he is going to make it in Hollywood."
Weinberger said when Kissos was in high school, he was recognized as "the most prominent photographer" and his work is still hung in his school today.
Though she admits she is biased, she loved Year of My Life.
"I think it's original - a nice and balanced reflection on his life at school, friends and family," Weinberger said. "On a personal level, I told him that from now on when he is around, I will always wear makeup ... even when I am home with no plans to go out."
Kissos' video ends at a party with his friends counting down the seconds until 2014. His iPhone 4S remains in his hand each day as he captures more moments, which he hopes to enjoy in decades to come.
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