While the most visible aspects of the filmmaking industry involve actors and directors, there are dozens of other behind-the-scenes positions that contribute to the making of a movie.

Youth interested in learning more about the various filmmaking components can apply to attend the Lights, Camera, Film summer camp being offered by the Florida Film Institute, a non-profit organization in North Miami. The camp is a part of the city of Miami’s Heart of Our Park cultural enrichment program, which offers six different arts-related summer camps at parks throughout the city.
Students attending the free, four-week program will get to learn about the various roles required to make a movie the best way possible – they will assume those roles. 

Some of the students will appear on the big screen while another directs, pulling all the pieces of the movie together. Someone will be responsible for ensuring that the lighting of a particular scene matches its somber mood, and another will select music to help propel the story forward. A student-turned costume designer will dress the actors in clothing that helps reveal characteristics unique to their roles.

Stephanie Martino-Rizzi is the brainchild behind the institute that is also responsible for CINEMA, a program that has been in a variety of Miami Dade Public Schools for 16 years, and has produced over 55 short films.  

“At the end of May we’ve now mentored over 4,900 kids,” Martino-Rizzi said of the in-school program that gives youth the opportunity to learn firsthand from seasoned industry professionals.

This year’s camp will take place at the Little Haiti Cultural Arts Center from June 24 through July 22. While there is no cost to attend, admission is by audition only. The auditions will take place June 22 and 23.

“Basically what we’re looking for are actors and students who are interested in learning more about the film industry,” Martino-Rizzi told the South Florida Times during a telephone interview.

Youth curious about a career in filmmaking can get real life, hands-on exposure to the inner workings of the film industry by actually making a movie.

“We teach the art, business and science of filmmaking. Our series of workshops are broken up into scriptwriting workshops, principal photography and post production,” Martino-Rizzi said of the camp’s components.

Students will be assigned jobs according to their interests and skills. Each position that is routinely filled during the filming of a movie will be taken by a student during the camp experience.

Their instruction will come from industry professionals like Alyn Darnay, an award-winning writer, director and author, who began his career in production and scriptwriting at MGM and 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles; and Tavares Beverly, a producer, director and actor who has appeared in television shows like “Girlfriends,” “Seventh Heaven,” “Boston Public,” and “E.R.”

Martino-Rizzi said the purpose of the camp is to open up the industry and all its interesting jobs to people who may believe that acting and directing are all there is to movie making.

“They’ll either be the producer, director, editor, sound person, lighting person, set location, caterer…” Martino-Rizzi said of the available positions.

The program is in the process of developing its Facebook page to round up its alumni.

Martino-Rizzi said, “We have students who have gone on and produced a number of short films.”

The camp culminates in a short film that is screened at the annual Mayor’s Recital – a summer showcase for all of the city’s arts programs.

In true show biz fashion, the film camp teaches the students how to deal with the stress of making movies. 

“We also do a yoga class with them so that they can learn how to breathe and relax, very important to get focused in this industry,” she said.

From the script writing process to editing in post production, “The kids learn the basics of what it’s like to shoot a movie,” Martino-Rizzi said. 

Those bitten by the moviemaking bug will be able to include their camp accomplishments in their portfolio.

“They each get a copy of the DVD. Their names go on the credits.  It’s a huge opportunity for any kid that’s interested,” Martino-Rizzi said.


To learn more about the summer camp or to check out former film institute students’ movies, visit www.flfilminstitute.org or call 305-891-3456.