FilmNorth’s Stories 55 program offered two free basic filmmaking courses for older adults in 2018: Creating a Short Video Memoir and Introduction to Short-Form Narrative Filmmaking & Video Poems. Both were designed for students with no prior filmmaking experience. In each set of classes, participants have had the opportunity to create short films of storytelling/poetry and memoir, with a public screening event following each class at FilmNorth’s state-of-the-art media arts center in the Creative Enterprise Zone in Saint Paul, MN.

FilmNorth provided filmmaking equipment, sound equipment, classrooms, editing software, and high quality projection and sound – in a warmly visual and creative setting. FilmNorth is fully accessible with ample parking and is conveniently located off of I-94 between Saint Paul and Minneapolis with public transportation available nearby. This program was made possible through generous funding from the Knight Foundation and Aroha Philanthropies as part of the Seeding Vitality Arts MN program.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Older adults have a lifetime of stories to share and insights into the world from lived experience. Their perspectives are important to share, and film is a particularly accessible way in which to do that – especially with new technology that makes filmmaking easier and more affordable than ever before. While most adults have a smartphone that can take video, creating quality films requires an understanding of writing, light, sound, framing, scoring, and editing. FilmNorth can provide that training in a sequential skill-building series that includes a social component to encourage relationship-building among the participants. This structured learning environment does not serve as art therapy, but rather as a true arts learning experience where participants are challenged to put a critical eye to their work, as well as to the work of their classmates. They emerge from the short film school with a high-quality, sharable film that they can show to friends and family, post on a personal website, and enjoy themselves.

OUR PROGRAM WAS PROFILED ON TWIN CITIES PUBLIC TELEVISION’S (TPT) MN ORIGINAL!

Older Adults Focus on Filmmaking

2018 COURSE SCHEDULE
(Click on course title for description.)

CREATING A SHORT VIDEO MEMOIR (SPRING SESSION)
Instructor: Pam Colby
8 sessions: Tuesdays, April 3–May 22, 10 am–12 pm
Culminating Screening Event: Tuesday, June 5, 7–8:30 pm

INTRODUCTION TO SHORT-FORM NARRATIVE FILMMAKING & VIDEO POEMS (SUMMER SESSION)
Instructor: Barbara Wiener
8 sessions: Mondays, July 9–August 27, 9–11 am
Culminating Screening Event: Tuesday, September 4, 7–8:30 pm

CREATING A SHORT VIDEO MEMOIR (SUMMER SESSION)
Instructor: Pam Colby
8 sessions: Tuesdays, July 10–August 28, 9–11 am
Culminating Screening Event: Wednesday, September 5, 7–8:30 pm

INTRODUCTION TO SHORT-FORM NARRATIVE FILMMAKING & VIDEO POEMS (FALL SESSION)
Instructor: Barbara Wiener
8 sessions: Tuesdays, September 25–November 13, 10 am–12 pm
Culminating Screening Event: Wednesday, November 21, 7–8:30 pm

Teaching Artists

Pam Colby has worked in television and film for over thirty years, recently producing and directing a feature-length documentary, Not in My Lifetime, which explores the impact of marriage equality legislation on artists, activists, and politicians. Her credits include narrative and documentary work: Writer/Director, Freedom’s Price (1984); Writer/Director, Speak Truth to Power, A Portrait of Polly Mann (1994); Producer, The Unapologetic Life of Margaret Randall (2002); Producer, Wellstone! (2004); Producer/Director, Fertile Ashes (2011); Producer/Director, Secrets for Mom (2013); Editor/Assistant Director, Angels Alleluia (2014); Director, Carl Eller: The Hunt for Self Expression (2017). Pam’s love of storytelling led her to the Moth Storytelling Competition where her GrandSLAM-winning story was featured on National Public Radio. Pam works as a freelance producer and director, and has taught both narrative and documentary classes at FilmNorth since 2013.

Barbara Wiener’s career in film and television and teaching has spanned 30 years. She was a senior and executive producer for 14 years at Twin Cities Public Television and has completed many independent feature documentaries since that time. Her arts and cultural documentary and performance work has received many awards including six Midwest Emmys and a Ciné Golden Eagle for her documentary film, Ida’s Story. Her work been seen in broadcast and screenings around the world, including the Walker Art Center’s Women with Vision, the New York International Film Festival, Chicago Silver Screen Film Festival, Women in the Director’s Chair, Denver Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival, which featured a piece called Curious George Goes to Hell made with storyteller Kevin Kling. In 2000 Barbara founded TVbyGIRLS, a nonprofit that collaborates with and mentors teen girls using the tools of filmmaking to develop critical thinking, leadership, and social change film work. Films made by collaborations with girls have been seen by audiences around the world and been awarded with four Telly Awards and a nomination for a student Emmy award. TVbyGIRLS is presently working on developing a compassion-building program with films for use by teachers, parents, and youth leadership groups, using new VR technology. Barbara also teaches film at North Hennepin Community College and does work with AJ+, Zinc Video, and Pear Video in Shanghai, China. She is currently working on a short film about a Keiseki restaurant in Minneapolis, a series of portraits of visual artists for Inclusivi-tee, and a film on a family’s journey through their dad’s transgender process.