2011-05-26 / News

Island kids showcase their films at recreation center

By Ken Shane

There was a little bit of Hollywood in town last week when a group of student filmmakers brought their latest work to the Jamestown Arts Center for a showcase. The event was part of the Jamestown Historical Society’s “Jamestown and the Silver Screen” series.

The six short films emerged from workshops led by Debbie Tungett, the coordinator of the Jamestown Teen Center.

“Rosemary Enright and Sue Madden of the historical society approached us months ago to see if we would want to be involved with a films-in-Jamestown project,” Tungett said.

“We all got together and came up with lots of different ideas and teens making films was one thing that came out, and that would be a program that the teen center would sponsor,” Tungett added. “With the help of funding from the Jamestown Education Foundation, we hired an instructor and put the program together.”

The sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students, most of whom attend Lawn Avenue School, were made aware of the program through advertisements and teen center promotions. The workshops were open to anyone.

Rocco Michaluk of Video and Vision in Newport led the workshops. “His name was brought to my attention because he had done a student filmmaking project before with the Boys & Girls Club of Newport,” said Tungett. “He came and did a few intro sessions with the kids.”

“Then we had Matt Einzig come and share his experience of getting involved with Hollywood films,” she added. “Albert Gamble, the father of a Jamestown teen, works for Channel 10 News. He brought his big professional camera and did a mini workshop on lighting. Mary Wright of the Jamestown Community Theater came and did a bit on scripting and acting.”

The students were asked to produce films of two to six minutes that somehow related to Jamestown or were clearly filmed in Jamestown.

Tungett hopes that there will be additional film programs in the future. “I hope to offer something else,” she said. “Maybe for kids who wanted to participate in this but their schedule wouldn’t allow it. We had some problems with locating equipment and computer lab technology to help with editing, so some of the kids that didn’t have their own equipment weren’t able to pull everything together. We’ll know that for the future.”

The 20-by-20-foot screen and the sound system used for the occasion were donated by the Rhode Island Film Festival. The equipment will remain in place when “Dan In Real Life,” starring Steve Carrell and Juliette Binoche, is shown at the arts center on May 26. The 2007 film was shot primarily in Jamestown.

Caellum Kerr’s “The Imaginary Pinecone” was one of the films screened at the showcase. The film is a parody of TV infomercials.

“I was watching TV one day and I noticed how many commercials and infomercials there are,” Caellum said. “They just take up so much of your daily time while watching TV. So I thought to spoof it.” The Lawn Avenue School student learned about the program from his parents, as most of the young filmmakers did.

Caellum sees a future in filmmaking. “It’s kind of fun,” he said. “I’ve been an actor for awhile, so I’ve seen that side of the camera, but I don’t know the other side. It’s interesting to see that, and it was a great experience. I can’t wait to do it again.”

Ashley Atkinson contributed a film called “The Treasures of Jamestown,” which depicts a small band of young people in search of a local treasure. “I thought that Jamestown had a lot of potential for the film,” Ashley said. She also expressed interest in continuing her film studies.

“The Clue In the Muffin” is a film made by Alex Trousilek. Much of the film was shot in the East Ferry area, and the muffin in question came from the East Ferry Deli. “I’m obsessed with muffins,” Alex said. “First I tried to make another movie, but failed. So I wanted to make a shorter film but still have the details. That’s how I came up with ‘The Clue in the Muffin.’”

Like the other students, Alex learned about the program from a parent. “My mom said she saw something. I was really interested and decided I wanted to do the filming.”

Other films in the program included “One Man Baseball,” directed by Victor Peppercorn-Janes, “www.umyeah.com,” directed by Emily Brewer, Hailey Cassidy and Natasha Shein, “Friday,” by Paris Deacon, and “Riptide Paintball,” by Austin Toppa.

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