Bringing film to life


By Madison Luka and Andrew Bae, Staff Writers

A ‘Film as Literature’ elective became available for students to take at Hoover High along with a brand new teacher to the school for the course as of August of 2021.

Joshua Leibner, the Film as Literature, as well as English 11, Philosophy, and creative writing teacher, newly arrived to Hoover after teaching high school and college film, English, and writing classes across the country ranging from Louisiana to New York to California. 

After he taught in LAUSD for 20 years prior to teaching at Louisiana State University, he said he is blessed that he is able to share and teach his knowledge of the wonders of film as literature to a new school district. 

Early Interests in Film

Leibner, when asked about early life experiences with his passion for film, and what initially got him interested in the art, said, “I got very into directors, and certain directors are really admired enormously. That made me want to follow other films they did.”

 Touching on which films specifically inspired him, he mentioned “‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ 2001 ‘Space Oddity,’ ‘China Town,’ the ‘Godfather’ films, and ‘Seven Beauties’ [stand out].” 

As a young adult, Leibner’s passions were something he was encouraged to pursue with peers, and as a career. 

“I made films with my friends, I was always encouraged, my parents encouraged me, no matter what your passion is, people respond to passion in [other] people,” Leibner said. 

Study and Career

Leibner’s passion bled into his school career and eventually into his life-long career. 

A scholarly student he was as well, “I attended the University of Wisconsin and then Columbia University in New York,” responded Leibner. 

Leibner has an appreciation for sharing his passion for film by both making and teaching the art. 

“When I was at LAUSD I wrote three movies while I was teaching English and film, to me you want to share something you love, and you want to get kids excited in the language of movies,” Leibner stated. 

Class Objectives

At Hoover, the main objective every teacher has for their students is to be an Ohana. Leibner seems to accomplish the common main idea of the school with his classes in his own way. 

He makes his intentions directed at his students apparent in the classroom. “[Film] lets you open doors to worlds that they may have never seen before,” Leibner said. 

Leibner believes that in his classes, providing interesting and engaging lessons that require students to think deeply leads to them responding with their own unique interpretations.

He plans to show films from all around the world and not revolve his classes with films from Hollywood.

 He wants his students to understand that the world of film is not just Hollywood and in fact, the best of human emotions that are birthed in films from other parts of the world are more truthful than what Hollywood could offer.

When asked what he would like our main takeaway for the class as a whole to be- “Art defines you, and every student that finds their art that speaks to them [I’d advise] to be just as hungry for more,” Leibner responded. 

Importance of Film

Art very apparently defines Leibner’s life. The importance of film is what keeps him alive.

“Movies let you enter the hands of a filmmaker and create a world that you get to walk into and believe in,” Leibner said. 

He wants his students to be inspired by his obvious passion in the classroom.

“I want my students to find what it is in themselves that they love,” he said.

A Students Perspective

Sophia Arambulo, a junior at Hoover High School, in Leibner’s 7th period Film as Literature class, expresseed only positive thoughts about the course. 

“There’s practically no cons to the course, I really like the way [the class] makes you see things in a different light,” Arambulo said. 

The class is very descriptive in the sense that it goes deep into the specifics of film and directors creative liberties. 

“My favorite thing about the class is how deep we got into why directors do things in their own unique ways,” Arambulo stated. “I was interested in the class because I wanted to expand my knowledge on the elements of Film.”

Class Attitude

When asked about the ambiance of the classroom and how the students respond to Leibner’s method of lecture, Arambulo made it clear that students understand their assignments and enjoy the class.

“They’re  very involved and attentive to Leibner’s lectures, everyone participates,” Arabulo responded. “Leibner brings a lot of passion and enthusiasm to whatever we’re doing in class, it makes us excited to learn.” 

Why Take the Class?

The class naturally appeals to creative students. Normally, students already interested in film and literature. 

“People who should take this class are students who want to learn more the about elements behind any sort of art, directors contribute to many mediums of art,” said Aramabulo.

“It helps me get more out of my writing experiences, I can understand and appreciate things for what they are thanks to Leibner’s class,” stated Arambuo. 

The new Film as Literature course is open to anyone who wishes to take it. If you’re creative, interested, and open minded, talk to your Hoover counselor about when you can take the course.