Archer: Experience the magicWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
Just over a year ago, I embarked on an adventure with the Sylvania Community Arts Commission. I call myself a creative, not an artist. Not a brave risk-taker by any means, but someone who when moved is willing to take a chance.
The adventure: Shorties U.
The reason: to give kids in Northwest Ohio (and as far north as Detroit) the chance to spread their creative wings and learn how to make a little art in the world of film.
In 2013, as the SCAC was preparing for the first annual Tree City Film Festival, we were approached by Toledo Free Press columnist Jeremy Baumhower about encouraging kids to use the digital devices they know and love to make movies, and enter them into our first annual “Shorties,” a kid-driven film festival for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
As they say: build it and they will come. And they did — in droves — to walk the red carpet and see their short films shown on the big screen. In our wrap-up of the 2013 Shorties, we decided to find a way to help these budding filmmakers as they tried their hands at the art of filmmaking. We recognized that we were challenging these kids to create something, but we weren’t helping them figure out how to create. As a result, Shorties U was born.
Shorties U is a four-week workshop, held on four consecutive Saturdays at Sylvania Northview High School from 9 a.m. to noon. During the series, 50 students in grades 5-8 learn about the art of filmmaking from area experts.
This year, participants will work in groups led by industry mentors to learn hands-on how to make a short film. In addition to the short films participants will make during the series, students will walk away with the knowledge and confidence to meet the challenge of making their own short films to enter into the 2015 Shorties, part of the third annual Tree City Film Festival. The 2015 festival will include movie screenings at the Sylvania Historical Village Railroad Depot, which will be converted into a movie theater for the weekend of April 17-19.
I love going to the movies. I love the feeling of a theater filled with people laughing, gasping, crying and celebrating the stories that are told and shared on the screen. Never would I have begun to imagine how much more the magic would mean to me after watching these kids learn about how to make that magic. It was a joy to see them recognize that — no matter how shy or uncertain or unartistic they may feel — they can tell a story, they do have a voice, they can create something that can make an entire theater feel something. Watching these kids learn, watching them create, watching them soar — it is worth it. It is magic.
Join us. Sign your student up today or come to the 2015 Tree City Film Festival and watch the magic in person. For more information, visit www.sylvaniaarts.org or call (419) 517-0118.
Jennifer Archer is executive director of the Sylvania Community Arts Commission.