Film School at the Traverse City Film Festival

The Traverse City Film Festival will be offering film classes at Scholars Hall, located at 1450 College Drive on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College. Aspiring filmmakers of any age can receive tips and insight from visiting professionals—parents of cinematic kids should check out the two-day Young Filmmakers Workshop on Wednesday and Thursday. Tuition is $5 per session; reserve a slot at TraverseCityFilmFest.org.


Wednesday 

  • Noon: “What’s Up, Doc?” One of the visiting TCFF documentary filmmakers will host a film school session taking you on their film festival journey from the film’s conception and filming to post-production and, finally, to arriving right here in Traverse City!
  • 2:45 pm: “Young Filmmakers Workshop: Lights, Camera Action!” Animate your own clay creations and make a short film that will be shown on Saturday before the Kids Fest film! Students ages 7-11 will design and bring 3D claymation characters to life in this two-day workshop, presented by Blackbird Arts. You can read more about their additional workshops, including an off-site three-day Claymation Animation camp for students ages 10-16, at BlackBirdArtsTc.com
  • 3 pm: Producer Workshop. Using clips and anecdotes from her award-winning films “Trouble the Water” and “Citizen Koch,” and drawing on her years producing for Michael Moore, Martin Scorcese, and other master filmmakers, Oscar nominee Tia Lessin presents a producer workshop in three parts:
    1. Pre-Production: how to raise money to make your documentary film;
    2. Production: creative producing and problem-solving, in the field and in the edit room;
    3. Post-Production: how to find and license great archival footage, and what is “fair use” (with Oscar nominee Carl Deal).

Thursday

  • Noon: “Green Screen Workshop” With advanced compositing capabilities at your fingertips, the depths of the ocean or the heights of Mars can be the backdrop for your next movie. This workshop will examine how green screen technology can be used to unleash the imagination. Cinematography and acting techniques will be explored so you can discover the best way to create something out of nothing.
  • 2:45 pm: “Young Filmmakers Workshop: Lights, Camera Action!” Animate your own clay creations and make a short film that will be shown on Saturday before the Kids Fest film! Students ages 7-11 will design and bring 3D claymation characters to life in this two-day workshop, presented by Blackbird Arts. You can read more about their additional workshops, including an off-site three-day Claymation Animation camp for students ages 10-16, at BlackBirdArtsTc.com
  • 3 pm: “Larry Charles Master Class” TCFF Board Member Larry Charles will share his new short film, “I Can’t Go On,” a years-in-the-making personal passion project about comedian and television writer Adam Leslie. The screening will be followed by a characteristically funny lesson in the serious business of filmmaking from the guy who brought you the blockbuster hits “Borat” and “The Dictator.”

Friday

  • Noon: “Persistent Struggle: Politics & Art of Black Film” From the early 20th century “race films” of black filmmaking pioneer Oscar Micheaux to the Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave,” black filmmaking and black representation in American cinema has required persistent struggle. This workshop will encourage discussion of the history of African-American cinema, of various black film movements, and of the presence—or lack thereof—of African Americans in cinema using lots of film clips from classic cinema, little known gems, and contemporary works.
  • 3 pm: “Lights, Camera, Act!” One of the most popular film school classes is back with a new spin. What makes movies unique on the level of performance is the symbiotic relationship between the camera and the actor. At their best, they dance together, intimately. It’s no different than a stage actor “finding their light,” or opening to the audience, but it’s a more subtle dance with the camera. This workshop will investigate the actor/camera relationship and how it’s affected by the editing process.

Saturday

  • Noon: “Exploring Music in Film” Join one of the composers from the team behind “Family Guy” for a unique interactive discussion covering music in film. From its roots in the silent film era to modern film soundtracks, we’ll take a journey through time and also learn what goes into creating the musical score for a film. You may even get to try out your skills as a composer!
  • 3 pm: “The TCFF Filmmaker Roundtable Answers Your Questions” An intimate session for you to ask your questions of our visiting filmmakers.

Sunday

  • Noon: “Crowdfunding & Community-Based Filmmaking” While the film industry resides primarily in Los Angeles, cheaper high-quality cameras, crowdfunding websites, and online distribution have made regional filmmaking a reality. Using the Michigan-based films “Consideration” and “Destined” as case studies, this session will look at strategies for raising money, building an audience, and fostering collaborations in order to create a sustainable indie filmmaking community right here in Michigan.
  • 3 pm: “Writing the Adaptation” You’ve got great source material which you know will make an amazing movie, you’ve even secured the rights, but now what?How do you transform a story told in a novel, comic book, article, essay, or play and make it cinematically driven for the screen? This session will explore example adapted screenplays and talk about real strategies for adaptation. Participants are encouraged to bring their adaptation ideas and questions for the whole group to consider.

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