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Introduction to Short-Form Narrative Filmmaking & Video Poems (Summer Session)

Starts July 9

8 sessions: Mondays, July 9–August 27, 9–11 am
Culminating Screening Event: Tuesday, September 4, 7–8:30 pm
Tuition: FREE

Want to learn the craft of visual storytelling to express an opinion, idea, or tell a story? Learn the basics of filmmaking and create a video poem! No prior experience necessary! A video poem is a short, highly visual film that merges ideas with imaginative images. Think music video without a band. Think short story that makes you cry or smile. A social issue message that motivates you. Ideas worth thinking and talking about. Participants get their feet wet by working in pairs to create short video poems, then apply their experience and skills to a final group project in the second half of the course.

The class is taught by award-winning filmmaker Barbara Wiener, who will teach you the film language of camera angles and shots, music, and story, and sharing ideas with others in a safe, guided environment. Guest artist/writer Naomi Cohn will lead one class session on the craft of writing and storytelling.

The class will be held at FilmNorth, which provides equipment, an editing lab, and a warm, unique ambiance that inspires creativity. Participants will engage in hands-on activities to learn how to write a video poem script, operate a camera, and work with audio and lighting equipment. A technical assistant will be on hand to help with any technical fears and questions, and you may involve yourself in the technical skill building activities to whatever degree you’re comfortable. A culminating screening event is scheduled for the week following the final class session, when you’ll be able to show, discuss, and celebrate your work with family and friends.

Curriculum Objectives:

  • Participants will put their ideas and experience into a short film
  • Participants will capture compelling, well-composed images with an HD camera and other filmmaking equipment (and work with existing still images and/or video footage)
  • Participants will edit footage to maximize the impact of their ideas
  • Participants will connect with others to collaborate and expand their ideas
  • Participants will have fun!


As a child, Barbara Wiener first wanted to be an astronaut but discovered that motion sickness would be a hindrance to successful completion of the training. Instead, she found herself drawn to telling the stories of the world around her. Barbara believes human beings are hardwired as a species to respond to stories and images in emotional ways. That means our modern media has significant influence to shape how we see ourselves and others. She believes sharing visual stories has the power to create the world we want to live in. That’s where making films comes in.

Barbara’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 college students to think about films and our society 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.

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July 9, 2018 @ 9:00 am
August 27, 2018 @ 11:00 am
Event Category:


Barbara Wiener
Registration Deadline
July 2, 2018
Maximum Enrollment
Civi Event ID
Class count or Info
8 sessions: Mondays, July 9–August 27, 9–11 am