Kids Can Be Filmmakers, too! Here Are Some Of The Best Summer Camps Across The Country To Get Involved.
image from https://haltonparentsblog.ca/2012/02/27/smoke-free-movies/
[Updated Summer 2019] Students in the nation?s top high schools and universities get to shoot their own films with top-of-the-line equipment and industry-veteran teachers all school year long. But what about those in under-funded areas, or those simply too young to be part of a traditional film program but still want to learn the basics? In the past, they would have been out of luck. But now, not unlike in youth sports leagues and theater workshops, kids in many major cities can spend their summer learning the basics of filmmaking and visual style.
Even in the age of DIY movies, where someone can create a viral video or festival hit on their iPhone, these special summer camps listed below know there?s no replacing the time and experience gained working under a traditional model of film production.
And even if you don?t have children of your own, these summer film camps are always in need of volunteers. Think of it as another opportunity to get involved and help young ones who want to make movies but don?t have the proper resources.
Austin Film Society?s Summer @ Austin Public
image from https://www.austinfilm.org/classes/summer-camp/
Richard Linklater. Wes Anderson. Terrence Malick.
You know the names, but do you know the connection? All have considered Austin their home during formative periods in their career (Linklater and Malick still live there now). The passion and commitment of those at the Austin Film Society reflect this impressive lineage. While AFS is known for being an intellectual atmosphere more suited for adult film fans, they too have recognized the importance of inspiring their city?s youth.
Summer @ Austin Public is a home-grown summer program that focuses on partnering the young filmmakers with established, regional ones. Unlike Facets, which run their camps more like classrooms, Summer @ Austin Public is all about honing the craft. Whether the focus is on screenwriting, producing or directing, Summer @ Austin Public has the people and the resources to help bring dreams to life.
Interested in working for Austin Film Society? See Current Job Listings Here!
To Join Summer @ Austin Public ? (https://www.austinfilm.org/classes/summer-camp/)
image from https://baycat.org/academy/#av_section_1
It might be hard to believe, but many of the Bay Area?s youth have very little access to digital media, and a limited working knowledge of how it works or why it works how it works. This is largely a result of the few opportunities many of them receive from their schools, which is why BAYCAT (Bayview-Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology) is working as a non-profit social enterprise to bring film and digital media education to the masses.
The under-served 11?25-year-olds are given priority in the application process, in large part to stay true to the BAYCAT mission and really make a change in the community. BAYCAT?s influence also extends to schools and community organizations, providing hands-on demonstrations of digital media equipment and the ability to do real film production.
Want To Help Bay-Area Youth Become Great Digital Media Artists? See the ways you can right now!
To Join BAYCAT ? ( https://baycat.org/)
Facets Summer Camps ? Chicago, IL
image from http://www.facets.org/summercamps/
When people talk about Chicago?s film scene, they usually first bring up the amazing repertory programming of Music Box Theatre and the Gene Siskel Center, or the annual international film festival, which features many of the year?s most anticipated premieres. However, the Facets Cinematheque remains a hidden gem which we wish weren?t quite so hidden. The diversity of their world cinema scheduling rivals just about any in the Chicago area, but in the summer they really set themselves apart with four different Facets Film Camps.
The first two offered are pretty traditional, with the main camps divided into 7?14 and 8?15 year-old camps. Each stress film history, appreciation and production. Every class starts with the soft skills required to survive a film set (teamwork, empathy, creativity), before getting into the hard mechanics of equipment and the basics of traditional Hollywood lighting.
Quite uniquely though, Facets Cinematheque also offers Digital Animation courses for children ages 10 and up, and a From The Masters class, where pre-teens and teens get to study a master director and learn to borrow his or her techniques (this year is Hitchcock!).
Want To Volunteer at Facets? Here?s how!
To Join Facets Summer Camp ? ( https://www.facets.org/summercamps/)
Maysles Institute?s Teen Producers Academy
image from https://www.maysles.org/teen-producers-academy
On the other side of the United States comes the Maysles Institute?s own attempt at combining community outreach with a film education. The Teen Producers Academy is an after-school and summer intensive program based in Harlem, and geared towards Harlem, Upper Manhattan and Bronx high-schoolers.
This particular program has two unique features: the classes are focused specifically on the producing side of film creation and are all about making short documentary films. The belief that Maysles Insitute has about changing real lives comes across in their documentary curriculum, where the students are required to capture their real lives and present it cinematically. No easy feat. But the educators teaching the proper use of HD cameras, audio equipment and Adobe Pro editing suites think highly enough of their annual incoming classes to consider them up to the challenge.
Would you love to intern for Maysles? Look up the opportunities here!
To Join Maysles ? ( https://www.maysles.org/education)
New York Film Academy Summer Camps
image from https://www.newyorkfamily.com/camps/new-york-film-academy/
From one of the biggest names in film production training outside of a classical college or university, this Teen Camp summer immersion experience is an incredible intensive for any young person who seriously has his or her heart set on being in the film industry. Broken into 1, 3, 4, and 6 week blocks throughout the summer, NYFA offers expert training on the film craft all across the globe. While New York City and Los Angeles are their two main campuses, their Teen Camp also takes place in South Beach, Florida, Paris, France and Gold Coast in Australia. They?ve even partnered with Harvard University (for those parents who want a really prestigious name attached to their child?s summer education).
By offering so many different courses and time frames, NYFA may be one of the most accessible mainstream summer camps. Though, like the other university summer camps, the experience does come with a steeper price tag than other options. Just know that, no matter whether the course is in cinematography, writing, directing or music video production, a student-teen from any background will get an incredible foundation here. There?s also a Kids Camp for children ages 10?13.
To Join NYFA Teen Camp or Kids Camp: https://www.nyfa.edu/summer-camps/film/
NYU Tisch Summer High School Filmmakers? Workshop
image from https://nyunews.com/2018/10/30/10-31-film-tisch-production-assistant-oscars/
This one is all in the name. One of the top film schools in the world offers a special summer workshop to high school students looking to get ahead in their filmmaking expertise. While many high schoolers might be salivating at the prospect of using all the facilities and resources that NYU has, this workshop also gets you something you can?t buy anywhere else? expert instruction on documentary, experimental and narrative approaches to filmmaking.
One of the advantages of joining a summer program from an esteemed institution is the ability to truly have your eyes widened to new forms of filmmaking, to expand your tastes and to meet other, very talented individuals. The Tisch Filmmaker?s Workshop runs for four weeks and acts an extremely condensed version of an undergraduate?s first year experience. This program is extremely hands-on and intensive. The coolest part? A student?s film can even be featured on the Tisch site, making them filmmakers who have already been distributed by a trusted name.
To Join NYU Summer High School Filmmakers? Workshop: https://tisch.nyu.edu/special-programs/high-school-programs/filmmakers-workshop
Old School Films
image from http://www.oldschoolfilms.org/films
Old School Films is another New-York based non-profit that pairs young filmmakers with experienced mentors. But this group?s mission comes with a twist. All filmmaking ?apprentices? must work with their mentor to film a short documentary about an elderly person in their community who they know and revere. Old School Films have partnered with the Brooklyn Arts Council and Flicker Flacker Films to bridge generational divides and help catalog earnest and authentic Brooklyn lives.
The apprentices chosen are taken from pre-production through post-production, experiencing all major phases of a film while learning how to treat their real-life subjects with empathy and delight.
Have a suggestion on how to expand Old School Films? offerings? Send them a note or suggestion!
To Join Old School Films ? ( https://www.oldschoolfilms.org/)
image from http://reelgrrls.org/
It?s an unfortunate reality that even some of the most well-intentioned summer and after-school film programs find themselves with a majority of white, male youth applicants. As a balance and reaction to the unfair bias towards male artists in Hollywood, Reel Grrls only accepts women and gender non-conforming youth.
Those at Reel Grrls hope their students each year will see this as a support system and a place they can truly express themselves, which is why they have made these necessary restrictions. At Reel Grrls, the programs offered are many (filmmaking, web content, immersive technologies), and the applications within each class go very deep (media literacy, social justice in media, media and feminism).
Would you like to mentor tween and teen girls and gender non-conforming youth? See if the job is right for you!
To Join Reel Grrls ? ( https://www.reelgrrls.org/)
School of Creative and Performing Arts (SOCAPA)
image from https://www.teenlife.com/summer-program/socapa-screenwriting-camp/
Like NYFA, this standalone collective has a long history and a strong track record of delivering fun and interactive summer camps in all of the arts. The Filmmaking branch offers six different intensive categories, all geared toward kids ages 13?18. Forgoing the more cerebral approach for an all-hands-on-deck experience, SOCAPA prides themselves on a storytelling-based curriculum that helps teach students how to find a great idea and execute it.
Currently offered in New York, Los Angeles and Vermont, this program is also unique in its collaborative nature. As an act of cross-disciplinary goodwill, the filmmaking students can collaborate with the acting students to guarantee solid performances for their films. Operating in an intentionally linear format, SOCAPA bases each course on one?s experience level, with a recommended starting course for those who are coming in brand new to filmmaking.
Another cool feature is that they house their camps at major college campuses, meaning that a high schooler can experience dorm and residency life at a college before even going.
To Join SOCAPA: https://www.socapa.org/teen-camps/film-camps/#dates
USC Cinematic Arts Summer Program
image from https://cinema.usc.edu/summer/index.cfm
Did you know that the most legendary film school in the world also has a summer camp for young people eager to get ahead in their production experience? Through two separate six-week sessions, students get to use USC?s brand-new campus and take condensed versions of the classes that only those lucky few accepted into the regular film program ever get to know about. USC?s film school is known for its variety in practice concentrations, and the summer program is no different. There are over seven different course tracks, each focused on a highly specific area. Essentially, this is for the serious filmmakers only.
This truly special experience puts students together with experience faculty members to get a leg up on the other high school competition. Though not necessarily a feeder into USC or another big film school for undergrad, those who take this course are certainly destined for great things. They even have to fill out an application and be admitted into the program. It?s a great training for what life is about to be for them should they choose to enter a film school. There?s surely no place better to learn the basics of film that in these hallowed halls.
To apply to USC Cinematic Arts Summer Program: https://cinema.usc.edu/summer/onlineapplication.cfm
Wide Angle Youth Media
image from http://wideanglemedia.org/about/
Baltimore is usually not the first city you associate with great filmmakers. And that?s why we?re so glad Wide Angle Youth Media exists! Broken down into high school and middle school categories, Wide Angle offers chosen students the chance to seriously engage with their craft. Students learn writing, production, and editing skills, but they also pick up media relations abilities that can translate to their own schools (and their future jobs). And as a perk not found in most programs like this, stipends and service learning hours are offered for those eligible.
Baltimore is a city with great pride in its people and traditions, and this is very much on display with the Community Voices Program, a photography-intensive workshop (with free or low-cost equipment!) meant to inspire in Baltimore public-school artists a renewed love for the diversity and culture of their own home. This program also ends in a curated show in areas around the city, giving students the chance to have their work next to real artists.
Live in Baltimore and want to make filmmaking synonymous with the city? Volunteer now!
To Join Wide Angle Youth ? ( https://www.wideanglemedia.org/)
Young Storytellers Foundation
image from https://www.youngstorytellers.com/programs/
While most of the summer programs on this list are focused in a particular region, Young Storytellers Foundation serves more than 60 public schools in Los Angeles and New York City, and more than 1,200 students in elementary through high school grades.
What made this group have such a prolific impact? It started in 1997, when some film students became mindful to the huge budget cuts happening to arts programs in Los Angeles public schools. As a result, they and some other volunteers decided to step in and supplement the fundamentals of film being lost by the budget cuts.
Now, over 20 years later, there have been more than 9,000 volunteers and partners that have stood alongside these first film students in solidarity for the cause.
Unlike many programs that take students from idea to final edit in one class, Young Storytellers Foundation slows things down a bit, breaking classes into individual elements. There is even a program for college students to learn how to take the Young Storytellers Foundation model and bring it to their own communities.
Want to help spread filmmaking craft and abilities among your neighborhood youth? See how you can contribute now!
To Join Young Storytellers ? ( https://www.youngstorytellers.com/)