By Michelle Meek
Remember when there were only three television channels (four if you counted Fox, although back then no one did), no cable, no DVD, no Internet?Â When I talk to kids now, they think I grew up in the Dark Ages.
But seriously, if your kids are fascinated by film, television, or animation, why not turn that into constructive action? This February, the first-ever Providence Children’s Film Festival will offer a selection of independent and international children’s films, making our city one of the few to present a film festival targeted specifically to children.Â This and the Rhode Island International Film Festival’s KidsEye program give families an opportunity to watch unusual films made by and for children and often provide the chance to meet and talk with directors.
For even more behind-the-scenes action, encourage your child to sign up for one of the area’s hands-on filmmaking classes, which range from a one-day workshop to a semester-long course. These educate kids on the power of images and empower them to create their own media messages. And who knows, maybe next year instead of just watching, your child will be presenting his or her film in a festival.
Local Children’s Film Festivals
Providence Children’s Film Festival
February 12-15, 2010
In its inaugural year, this festival plans to bring independent and international children’s films, animation, and documentaries over Presidents’ Day Weekend to the Cable Car Cinema and RISD Museum.
Rhode Island International Film Festival
August 10-15, 2010
The annual KidsEye International Film Festival, under the umbrella of RIIFF, features films made by and for children.
Apparently, rumor has it that the Newport International Film Festival, a longtime festival including programs forÂ both kids andÂ film students, has collapsed.
Hands-On Filmmaking Workshops
SHOOT Teen Film Program
Starts February 10, 2010, Wednesdays at 4PM (runs for 8 weeks)
Cost: Free for Boys & Girls Club Members ($25/year to become a member)
The SHOOT Teen Film Program guides teens through the collaborative process of making a film from scriptwriting, location scouting, and casting through shooting and editing. Watch some of the former students’ films on their website.
In April, check website for details
Cost: $15 (last year’s cost)
Kid Filmmakers, a traveling year-round filmmaking academy for children, returns to Rhode Island for the SENE Film, Music, and Arts Festival in April to present a special one-day children’s film workshop.
1 week in July
North Kingstown, RI
Presented by the Rhode Island International Film Festival, KidsEye offers an intensive five-day filmmaking camp where children ages 8 to 16 step into the roles of screenwriters, actors, directors, and crew.
Rhode Island School of Design
Ages: Teens, as well as programs for 12 and under
The RISD Young Artist Prgram has a unique roster of classes for children and teens.Â They recently ran a VideoLab: Experimenting With the Camera for ages 12 and under where kids learn experimental video techniques.Â They also have a series of Movie Masterworks courses that help teens learn to analyze films as well as create them, in addition to several courses in cartooning and computer animation.Â A few of their upcoming courses include Lights, Camera Action (Vacation Camp) over the February break in which students ages 10 to 13 make their own short films, and Cartoon Carousel: Computer Animation Camp on April 19-23 in which students ages 9 to 13 combine traditional hand-drawing techniques with digital image processing to collaborate on an original short animated film.
Big Hope Films
Ages: under 18
Throughout Rhode Island
This unique organization aims to fulfill creative visions made by children and young adults under age 18 who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness.