Young or old, you can learn a lot from a 'Fellow' filmmaker
by Francie Scanlon
May 06, 2010 | 5644 views | 0 0 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend | print
2010 Tribeca Film Fellows (listed by their names, towns of residence, and schools in attendance), left to right: Jasmine Velez, 15, Corona, Academy for Careers in Television and Film; Rafael Velez, 18, Richmond Hill, Independence High School; Nataly Garzon, 17, Jamaica, Baccalaureate School for Global Education; Alejandra Araujo, 17, Jamaica, Frank Sinatra School of the Performing Arts; Frisly Soberanis, 16, East Elmhurst, Academy for Careers in Television and Film. (Photo Courtesy of the Tribeca Film Institute)
2010 Tribeca Film Fellows (listed by their names, towns of residence, and schools in attendance), left to right: Jasmine Velez, 15, Corona, Academy for Careers in Television and Film; Rafael Velez, 18, Richmond Hill, Independence High School; Nataly Garzon, 17, Jamaica, Baccalaureate School for Global Education; Alejandra Araujo, 17, Jamaica, Frank Sinatra School of the Performing Arts; Frisly Soberanis, 16, East Elmhurst, Academy for Careers in Television and Film. (Photo Courtesy of the Tribeca Film Institute)
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So you want to be in the pictures - not necessarily as an actor, but maybe as a director, producer, director of photography, screen writer and/or lighting designer - and you are between 15 and 19, and attend a high school within the City of New York - here's looking at you! With a total turnout of 410,000 attendees at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival's screenings, panels and free community events, including the Drive-In and Street Fair, you certainly will have a stellar audience if your work is chosen.

The Tribeca Film Festival, which extends beyond Manhattan’s borders through the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) as the 501(c)3 nonprofit arm of the Festival, aims to educate and inspire young filmmakers, and is custom-made for the realization of your cinematic expectations via its Tribeca Film Fellows (TFF) Program.

Meet Frisly Soberanis, a sixteen-year old Guatamela native who arrived in New York in August 2001. He submitted his short film/documentary on the New York Military Youth Cadets (an after-school program of which he is a member), which garnered him a coveted spot in the TFF Class of 2010. Soberanis hopes to return next year as a TFF Graduate Assistant and advance his current focus: connecting and networking with other young filmmakers, while giving back to those who follow in his footsteps.

Meanwhile, Frisly is still delighting in the first-time joys of shooting 35mm!

Since its debut in 2001, TFI has become an industry-heralded institution that oversees a dozen major programs annually, reaching 10,000 people through its year-round programming in New York City as well as its featured initiatives at the Tribeca Film Festival.

TFI’s sixth annual youth media gala screened "Our City, My Story" at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas on April 27, a celebration of the excellence and diversity of New York City youth-generated media. The special screening spot-lighted 13 youth-produced short films created over the last year.

Additionally, an introductory short film titled "Cityscapes," created collaboratively by the 2010 Tribeca Film Fellows depicting all five boroughs of New York City through the eyes of its young filmmakers, served as an introduction to "Our City, My Story."

At the conclusion of the TFF month-long program, four Film Fellows are awarded a $1,500 scholarship to further their education in film.

Nancy Saechao, a first generation Laotian American, University of Oregon graduate and a coordinator of the TFF program, describes the Fellows as a "...cohort of really diverse students that are in love with movies and making films." With a long-range lens, Saechao portrays the Film Fellows as developing a “pipe line with each other as peers” that presumably will result in the benefit of each and every Film Fellow, in both the near- and long-term.

Indeed the newly expanded TFI education programs - spearheaded by Lisa Lucas, TFI's Director of Education - include not only the Tribeca Film Fellows but Tribeca Teaches: Films in Motion, Tribeca All Access, TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, Camera to Classrooms Fund and TFI's Youth Screening Series.

TFI has also recently introduced JP Morgan Chase’s Camera-to-Classroom Fund, which will allow cultural organizations to partner with New York City public schools and apply the curriculum and training outlined in the "Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts: The Moving Image." The Moving Image Blueprint is an innovative curriculum guide for the study of film, television and animation in elementary, middle and high schools.

Developed by TFI, the NYC Department of Education and the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the Blueprint will be implemented in schools across the five boroughs and will also guide all of TFI’s year-round and festival-based education programs, which include the expanded Tribeca Teaches: Films in Motion, the Tribeca Film Fellows Program" and TFI’s Youth Screening Series.

“Media education can no longer be an afterthought for our schoolchildren,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-chairperson of the Tribeca Film Institute’s Board of Directors. “TFI is working to help make sure that New York City students grow up making films, learning from films and using that knowledge as they pursue higher education and ultimately, jobs.”

An expansion of the Film Fellows Program will launch in late 2010 to assist high school filmmakers prepare for college. TFI will develop and staff an after-school college preparatory program designed to monitor, facilitate and empower film students to understand the academic opportunities and experiences available to them.

Film Fellow Alejandra Araujo, a Colombian American aspiring filmmaker, heads off to Belfast in June for a week to shoot a film [as a member of The Ghetto School] after graduation from Frank Sinatra School of the Performing Arts. In September, Ms. Araujo will enter New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (for the film/TV program), where she hopes to develop her creative writing skills.

Late this week, thanks to a meteor shower, there will be shooting stars in the skies. Consistent with the tradition of making a wish upon seeing a shooting star, keep your feet on the ground and start preparing either a short film, a screenplay and/or an essay that you can submit online [nyc.gov.boe] later this year or in early 2011 so that you will hopefully be a Tribeca Film Fellow when the Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2011!

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