Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Student Filmmakers (Rhoades)

Student Filmmakers Debut At the Tropic in New Competition
 By Shirrel Rhoades

In Hollywood every waiter is a wannabe director. And in the Florida Keys you might think that’s the goal of every high school student.
As it turns out, some of the Keys’ middle and high school students are now film directors – thanks to the Tropic’s “Lead Project,” a competition co-sponsored by the Tropic Cinema and the Florida Keys Council of the Arts.
Regular moviegoers will recognize a “lead” as those snippets of film that appear before the feature film starts, usually admonishing you to turn off your cell phone and toss your trash in the handy receptacles after the movie.
Some 50 Monroe County students will see their film productions appear on the four Tropic screens this Sunday, January 30.
On that date the Tropic and the Council of the Arts will hold a reception honoring the students at 6:30 p.m., with the 20 short entries premiering at 7 p.m.
The top 8 of these student films – less than a minute each – will then be shown before every one of the hundred-plus feature films on Tropic Cinema screens this year.
“We wanted something different,” said Matthew Helmerich, executive director of the nonprofit cinema. “The Tropic is unique and we wanted introductory leaders unique to the cinema.”

The Arts Council took the challenge, taking the Tropic leader project to Monroe County middle and high school filmmakers. 20 teams and individual student filmmakers responded to an Arts Council grant application offering cash prizes and awards at the January 30 event.
“The Tropic leader project was a perfect way for us to involve Keys students in the arts and to demonstrate how the arts influence us every day,” said Florida Keys Council of the Arts executive director Elizabeth Young. “Students work on every element of filmmaking from casting to shooting to post-production editing.”
The 20 micro-films were evaluated by about a dozen community arts and education leaders for creativity and production values at a screening earlier this month. I was fortunate enough to happen by the Tropic on the day of the judging and got invited to sit in. The student productions displayed knock-your-socks-off creativity. Some were mindful of drive-in movie intermissions, others paid homage to mainstream movie trailers, and still others offered Darth Vader, actors interacting with the imagined audience, and animation.
Local filmmaker and Arts Council Advisory Board member Michael Marrero oversaw the project. “This was not about screening a student film once, giving a round of applause and putting it away. Like other independent films, our leaders will be on Tropic screens hundreds of times and seen by thousands of moviegoers this year,” said Marrero. “This is the real deal.”
Moviegoers should encourage this burst of creativity – not only by the students, but also by the sponsors – by attending the premiere. Admission is $10 and seats are limited. Tickets are available at the Tropic box office at 416 Eaton Street and at All proceeds for the event benefit the Tropic Film Leader Project.
[from Solares Hill]

1 comment:

Hiccup3000 said...

Sounds like a great competition. I wish all the best to the film-makers involved. There are a lot of film festivals out there but many don't make a diffrence- student films should be taken seriously after all these are the film-makers of the future.