From July 7th to July 11th, the KidsEye Summer Filmmaking Camp celebrated its 16th year! The creative and hands-on filmmaking camp is held at the University of Rhode Island where the program’s Co-Director, Keith Brown, is a Lecturer in the Film/Media program.
KidsEye is a 5-day filmmaking camp for children ages 8 to 17 presented by FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival. It incorporates hands-on learning where a focus is placed on film production. Participants step into the roles of screenwriters, actors, directors, and crew to learn about the importance of working in a team environment. KidsEye allows participants to interact with trained filmmakers and educators through a program that is designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and understanding of all participants, regardless of their level of experience.
Two Harrington School Film/Media students, Brian LeBlanc and Amelia Votta, were directly involved with this year’s camp as volunteer counselors for a group of campers ages 10 to 11.
Brian LeBlanc will enter his junior year this fall equipped with a great deal of knowledge and leadership experience from working at KidsEye camp. His time with KidsEye began in 2008 when he attended as a camper! “My first experience with KidsEye came in the summer of 2008. It was an absolute blast that summer, and it was also my first experience working with a group of people to make a short film.”
This summer, however, was his first involvement as a volunteer. He had a very positive experience working with his campers and his greatest takeaway was watching the kids learn, grow, and bring together their creative ideas. “Each kid had his/her unique ideas to add to the group, which made it a lot of fun to hear all of the creative things being said.”
For Brian, the most rewarding thing about being part of KidsEye was collaboration. “Collaboration was vital for everyone, whether it be the campers or the counselors.” He and his fellow co-counselors made a great team and were able to help each other out with the daily tasks laid out for them. “I really feel that the systematic collaboration that filmmaking requires really helped everyone work together and stay on task.”
Brian had some of his own takeaways, which have helped him to understand how he can apply his volunteer experience to his time in the classroom, “This camp made me think about how I work with other students. It made me realize that getting good grades is important, but often times the social aspect of the classroom can be just as important, especially when film is a business of collaboration.”
Amelia Votta from North Situate, RI, will also be a junior at URI this fall. As part of the Film/Media program, her focus is in production and she has loved every part of her academic experience thus far. Not only has she learned a lot being a part of the Film/Media community, but she has also made some great friendships along the way. “Everyone is really supportive of one another, and I think that is what makes our program stand out.”
Amelia was initially involved with KidsEye through Keith Brown, who brought up the opportunity due to her love of kids matched with her love of film and desire to gain as much experience as possible during her college career. This year marks her second year as a volunteer at KidsEye, and this was Amelia’s first as a Head Counselor.
Throughout the week, the group developed a script, assigned roles, completed preproduction work, and then spent the rest of their time filming. Though the camp was just five days long, the team was committed, worked hard and brought a lot of creativity and ideas to the table. Amelia adds, “It was really amazing to watch our project grow over time, and I’m looking forward to seeing the group’s reactions come August when they see the final edited project at the screening!”
Amelia felt that the rewards of the KidsEye camp were both immediate, and long lasting. “The second the group got an idea, their eyes lit up, and they were brainstorming, building together, and truly creating something with one another. The look of pride on their faces and their sense of accomplishment were what make me happy.”
Not only did Amelia watch her campers grow, but also on a personal level, she felt that this camp helped her grow. She got experience working with kids and an opportunity to teach which are both interests of hers. “As a filmmaker myself, they gave me new ideas and inspired future projects,” she said.
The 17th Annual KidsEye Camp
Next year, the 17th KidsEye camp will be held on July 6th to 10th, 2015. For more information, please visit the RIFF KidsEye Camp website! http://www.film-festival.org/kidseye.php