On the heels of the Virginia Film Festival, where many youth present their film projects they have participated in through the Adrenaline Film Project, is a story about aspiring filmmakers that make up the Youth Leadership Team at Friendship Court.
During the summer months, Light House Studio partnered with the Youth Leadership Team at Friendship Court to teach them self-expression through the art of film. Zoe Cohen, former managing director, worked with the youth as part of an ongoing program entitled Keep It REEL, which is offered to youth in Charlottesville’s local community centers and schools. In addition to teaching the youth many diverse technical skills (cinematography, lighting, editing, and sound design), Zoe worked with the students to develop soft skills for the job market.
The Keep It REEL workshop, which is a focus on documentary filmmaking, began with a discussion about the types and stages of filmmaking. The Youth Leadership Team watched a variety of short documentaries to learn about camera angles and how different framing affects what the filmmakers wish to convey to the audience. Viewing and discussing documentaries also taught the students the valuable skill of critiquing. This process also helped them gather ideas for their own films. The subsequent three sessions were dedicated to brainstorming ideas, writing interview questions, as well as learning about the equipment and how to work as a team. Once pre-production was complete the group began production – working as a crew to film each other’s mini-documentaries. The youth took turns as Director, Camera Operator, Sound Recordist, Slate Operator, and Interviewer.
Zoe said, “It was exciting to see the range of story ideas from personal stories to short films about hopes and dreams for the future of Friendship Court.” The Youth Leadership Team worked very hard during their final stage of filmmaking: editing. Students spent many weeks editing their documentaries and learning how to craft their story, in addition to adding sound, music, and titles.
The Light House Studio program concluded in October with an intimate celebratory screening at Light House Studio’s Vinegar Hill Theatre where they got to view the final projects they worked very hard to craft.