SOFA, so good? "Straight outta Film Arts" (SOFA) shines a light on youth filmmaking

Matt Sussman September 6, 2007

Whether out of boredom on a long weekend, or for a school assignment, or out of a burning sense of ambition seeded by repeated viewings of "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" or "Harold and Maude," chances are that at some point in your young adult past, you picked up a camera. Someone became a filmmaker, if only for the span of an afternoon. My own efforts included a shriek-filled "remake" of "Child’s Play" — but with a little girl doll called "Dolly Dearest," which entailed liberal amounts of ketchup and a screenplay for an extremely low-tech knockoff of "The Birds" called "The Boxes." My first and last attempts as a filmmaker, however, are nothing like the final products of the talented young directors in TILT’s Summer Film Camp showcase (screening as part of of Straight Outta Film Arts program at YBCA).That may be because these filmmakers receive training: TILT, which stands for Teaching Intermedia Literacy Tools and is overseen by the local media arts nonprofit Film Arts Foundation, aims to help young people develop their abilities to critically evaluate the media around them and to teach them the skills necessary to create their own media.

Some of the shorts to come out of the intensive three week summer camp sessions are goofy (Will Farrell should be taking notes on David Johnson’s "Parkour Masters"), and others are quite serious (Ariana Husain’s exploration of the assumptions we make about others, "The Art of Misconception"), but they all succeed at using a variety of film techniques to help articulate their individual voices.

"I am still impressed with the learning curve of our TILT students," wrote Skye Christensen in an email. Christensen is Film Arts Foundation’s Youth Coordinator and is the main organizer of TILT’s Summer Camp. "Many of the students had used a consumer video camera borrowed from a family member. A handful had worked with a non-linear editing system, such as Final Cut Pro. Only one or two had taken a video course before. Yet all 14 students [

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