By ELIZABETH LITTLE
Eight students participating in a hands-on film camp this summer debuted a short film, “The Brockwell Incident,” at the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in downtown Birmingham in August.
All of the film was shot in Crestline, including landmarks such as the Clock tower, Church Street Coffee and Books and Sugar. The real-world concept of asking permission at the different locations of their filming taught the students responsibility and patience for scheduling and to expect setbacks. The students filmed for four days during the two-week camp, shooting more than one hour of footage they meticulously shed to a 9-minute short film.
“I began to learn about all of their personalities, each student is unique,” said learning designer Michael Milazzo of g8four, the organization that ran the camp. “Like this one will want to direct and this one will want to be behind the camera and this one will want to edit and not want to do anything else, you know?”
Milazzo laughed, smiled and then continued, “They’re all great, really cool kids.”
The plot the students created was interesting and well thought out, the instructors said. They believed the students had truly made something of merit that could have been written by adults and that they should be proud of what they have accomplished. Without spoiling the students’ hard work, the plot follows a girl and her friends, who find a mysterious journal that reveals intriguing clues to a possible threat.
Joy Gravel and Kaitlin Richburg, fellow learning designers, also assisted the students and supported them throughout various stages of making the film. Guest independent filmmakers were invited to the camp to share important, professional teaching to the students during each stage and answered questions from their own past experience.
The campers ranged in age from 8 to 14. The youngest, Will Robinson, 8, never went anywhere without his flip camera, instructors said. Although not seen in the movie, Will was the director of the behind-the-scenes footage and couldn’t get enough of the filmmaking process.
The film was entered into the student film category of the festival to compete for an award. Accomplished filmmakers from around the country met with the students at the festival.