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    A Future of Films

    2023-2024’s film adventure doesn’t end with “Dune: Part Two”, as fellow Tuscarora graduate continues the journey by pursuing a media arts production career.
    Jason Dent

    How does a year that starts off with cinematic instability become one boasting of critically acclaimed films? Despite the writers’ and actors’ strike near the beginning of the school year of 2023-2024, films like “Oppenheimer”, “Barbie,” “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” and “Dune: Part Two” were major highlights of the journey that this year’s cinema took. Not only were these films the talk of the town, but they broadened the scope of film and became the word of the world. Meleena Manalang, a Tuscarora graduate of 2024 who will pursue a media arts production major at Emerson College, offers her insight into the film frenzy that occurred this year.

    The films of this year that made it to the Oscars, specifically “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”, were highly controversial when they met there, and some people were dubious why they received so much attention and high marks. “I would not say any of them are overrated because they all deserve the praise they have received. I think their storylines are opening our eyes to the kind of world we live in, especially ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’,” Manalang suggests. Yet despite the two movies that made their way to the Oscars, Manalang, having seen all of the movies except for “Dune: Part Two”, relates, “My favorite movie was ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’. I am a huge fan of ‘The Hunger Games’ series, so I was really excited for its release! I ended up seeing it twice and it allowed me to see details I missed the first time. I loved the story, and all of the actors played their part perfectly.”

    What is it that made the film with zero Oscar awards Malanang’s fan favorite? “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” exceeded expectations, even though it didn’t win any awards. When looking for good qualities in a movie, Manalang personalizes, “I like to analyze the theme and plot to see if the movie really gets the point across.  If it is an action movie, I pay attention to the special effects and stunts. I also take time to think about the pacing of the movie to determine if it’s smooth or choppy. It is also important whether or not the acting is good.” These aspects that fit perfectly into the framework of “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”, made it soar above the other movies. Her favorite movie of all time, “10 Things I Hate About You”, enlists a similar group of qualities, with “…amazing acting…” and “…really good chemistry.”

    Manalang has been into film since a young age, and she pursued that passion by taking Broadcasting at Tuscarora. As she moves on to college, she aims to follow her dream through. “I want to study film because ever since I was little I would always create my own video skits and write scripts,” Manalang explains. She wasn’t alone in the process, and says, “My grandfather was the best storyteller, and he has inspired me to take on my own version of it. Even now as I take Broadcasting, I love the process of filming and finding the best shots, and editing the clips to make a bigger product. I think film and movies are some of the beauties in life; there are so many different ways to interpret them, and they allow us to experience life through a different lens.”

    Transitioning from high school to college comes with big leaps, and one of the changes that Manalang will experience is a broader scope of videography that she will encounter. “Studying film entails learning the history of film, theory, and the art of storytelling. Film is a very broad industry with many areas of interest, such as screenwriting, producing, directing, and cinematography,” she explains. However, this doesn’t dampen her approach to film, as she is most excited, “…to study all departments of film and work on projects with other people who share the same passion as me.”

    Even though Manalang’s graduation to a higher education will take her further from familiar faces, it will bring her closer star films like “Oppenheimer”, “Barbie”, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”, and “Dune: Part Two”, simultaneously propelling her towards her chief desire. Manalang expresses, “I hope to be able to work on a big production set one day and create something that everyone can enjoy. I dream of being able to see my name on the credits scene.”


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    About the Contributor
    Hannah Stine, Staff Writer
    Hannah is a sophomore at Tuscarora HIgh School, and this is her first year on the newspaper team as a Staff Writer. She has played volleyball for NVVA since 5th grade. In her free time she's either reading, drawing, writing, or tackling an overload of homework.

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