Crash Course in Filmmaking for High School Students - News 8 Austin

News 8 Austin

Six high school seniors – many of whom have never picked up a video camera before – are spending the next eight days learning about filmmaking from industry professionals.

The students at Manor High School were chosen to be the first recipients of the Mobile Film School, a new nonprofit that brings the art of filmmaking to students in rural areas.

The students are learning story development, scriptwriting, digital camera operation, and editing. They will complete two short documentaries and one 30-second public service announcement.

Students are filming at a home seen in the 1993 movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape, which was filmed in Austin, Lockhart and Manor.

"Normally, if I were to pick up a camera I would never think about the lighting. I'm just like, ‘hey, let me film something’ but now I'm like ‘well, will that look good? What about the sound and the environment?’" senior Sakeenah Aleem said.

Mobile Film School was founded by Lisa McWilliams, who was inspired to bring filmmaking to young people who might not otherwise be exposed to it after a trip to an Indian reservation in South Dakota. There she found many people with stories to tell, but they didn't have the tools or know-how. She wanted to connect students with materials and mentorship so they could tell their own stores and capture America on film.

"It's really a unique opportunity to take a group of enthusiastic, inquisitive kids through the filmmaking process. From script-to-screen, they'll have a hand in all of it. Hopefully we'll spark the interest of some future filmmakers, while setting a high standard for artistic expression and teamwork," McWilliams said.

To wrap up the week's session, there will be a free public screening of the students’ work on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. at Manor High School.

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