Summer Newsletter 2007

We Won! Our first workshop students are now award-winning filmmakers.

The MFS/Manor ISD student film, In a Place Like This (produced in February 2007), won "Best Documentary" AND "Best of Show" at the Josiah Youth Media Film Festival in July. Students Janie Richards, Robert Barnes and MFS Founder and Executive Director Lisa McWilliams attended the event, held in San Antonio. The quality of films was impressive, and it was a great honor to be chosen as the first recipients. As winners of the “Best Documentary” and “Best of Show”, the MFS students were awarded a $500 gift certificate towards equipment from the B&H Video and Audio Equipment Catalog. Janie and Robert turned right around and donated the certificate to MFS on behalf of the Manor students. How cool is that!

MFS remains grateful to Marcus and Nancy Neundorf, parents of artist Josiah Miles Neundorf, for their dedication and support of young filmmakers. For more information on the Festival, and the sponsoring umbrella arts organization, The URBAN-15 GROUP, which is dedicated to the living arts of our region, please visit:

We're putting it out there.

Additional screenings for In a Place Like This include: the Austin Student Digital Festival, online in the ListenUp! VIP competition, and the Austin Film Festival's student EXPO. The documentary has also been accepted into the “Cinema Kids” screening in September at the University of Texas. You can view In a Place Like at:

In an ongoing effort to support our students and their work, the Mobile Film School actively pursues opportunities to submit our films to competitions and festivals throughout the year, throughout the country.

We've moved.

Come see us at our new offices at 701 Tillery, Suite A1-B in Austin. It is a great location and we are in good company with several very cool non-profit and arts organizations. The office has been bustling with lots of staff and volunteers. It won't be long before we are going to have to expand our office space again. You can find us at the south end of the building near Allgo. Feel free to call us for directions at 888 MFS FILM (637 3456), or check out our website.

MFS Programming and the Elgin Workshop, July 2007.

We were really pleased with the success of our pilot workshop in Manor, Texas. It helped us refine our curriculum, and most importantly, illustrated that the MFS programming model is effective, comprehensive, and basically, really works.

The Mobile Film School's second digital filmmaking workshop took place this July in Elgin, Texas, a sweet rural community located about 30 minutes east of Austin. In partnership with the Elgin ISD, eight students, ranging in age from 15 to 18, participated in a one-week documentary workshop, lead by MFS' media professionals and staff. MFS and the students clocked in over 96 hours of production time, which included presentations from industry professionals Gary Walker, Kevin Triplett, Nevie Owens and Barry Coffing, as well as intensive instruction on the digital film and editing equipment. Additionally, several Manor students traveled to Elgin, joining in as volunteers, giving us another opportunity to connect with alumni and enhance their learning experience.

The students’ short documentary, Dr. Phil or Dr. Do-Little, focused on an errant visit to Elgin by the television icon in 2004, and the continuing effect on the community. Over 100 residents and friends turned up for the successful premiere screening, held at the Elgin ISD administrative building on July 28th, 2007.

A wonderful, galvanizing result of the Mobile Film School's July workshop is the implementation of a year-long media program for Elgin High School students. Spearheaded by Dr. Duane Shaw, who acted as of our Elgin liaison, MFS will be available throughout the year as a consultant, and will beta test the curriculum we are creating for ongoing community media education.

We are most grateful to the residents of Elgin, for opening their hearts and sharing their stories with the MFS students; their sons and daughters.

Elgin 2007 Workshop Sponsors:

  • Bluebonnet Electric Coop
  • Frontier Bank of Texas

Mealtime is a precious and nurturing time at the MFS workshops, and we are grateful for those that kept us well fed:

  • Seattle’s Best Coffee
  • Chipolte
  • Magnolia Café
  • Soup Peddler
  • Texas Honey Ham
  • Austin Tamale House
  • Einstein Bagels
  • Phoenicia Bakery & Deli
  • Sweet Leaf Tea
  • Izze
  • Garden Spot Café & Catering
  • Jeannette Shelby Realty
  • Kay Silkenson
  • Sandy Smith
  • Gracie Villarreal & Phil Goetz
  • Jon & Debbie Harvey
  • Dr. Duane Shaw

We couldn't have done it without our community liaisons and volunteers:

  • Dr. Duane Shaw
  • Gracie Villarreal
  • Avan Allen
  • Amy Bench
  • Brittany Harmeyer
  • Carson Cummings
  • Phil Goetz
  • Jeremy Van Doren
  • Reed Penney
  • Jordyn Wilfrey
  • Lori Stammer
  • Diane Forbes

And once again, thanks to our equipment heroes:

  • Omega
  • Mopac Media
  • PACT
  • Patrick Phillips
  • April Melody Sanchez

MFS and the 2007 Austin Film Festival (AFF) - The Student Pitch.

In October, MFS is collaborating with AFF to present The Student Pitch workshop, to be held during the 2007 Austin Film Festival. Demonstrating our mutual commitment in support of young filmmakers, regional students will be invited to participate in a workshop focused on giving that all-important project pitch. Six stellar student projects will be chosen to present their pitch to a panel of industry professionals, who will first respond to the projects, then critique the pitches. The general public is invited to view the Student Pitch...check the website in the coming weeks for more info. This workshop exercise will be educational for ANYONE who would like to learn to pitch their work.

MFS: Our Success and the Need.

Over the past year, MFS has grown as an organization, adding staff to keep the day-to-day business up and running. We have two workshops under our belt, Manor and Elgin, and plans are currently underway for a Winter 2008 workshop in rural Texas. Currently, each week-long, total immersion workshop costs about $35,000.

We continue to operate carefully, yet hold the bold belief, with considerable proof, that programming offered by the Mobile Film School impacts individuals and communities in powerful ways. The Mobile Film School provides instruction in all aspects of film production...enhancing vocational skills while fostering future filmmakers, who, frame by frame, will contribute to America's rich cinematic tradition.

Our accomplishments are indeed thrilling, but we really need your support to ensure our continued growth and success. We have a solid fundraising plan in hand, assertively gathering funding from several sources; including grants, equipment sponsorships, and individual gifts.

To realize our Winter 2008 MFS program, we need your help. No donation too small or too large!!