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Core Filmmaking is SOCAPA's most popular intensive. Each SOCAPA student writes, directs and edits one film of their own per week of attendance. Students also work as a crew members for one another, providing each young filmmaker the opportunity to work as a Director of Photography, Sound Technician, or Production Assistant each week. Core Filmmaking introduces students to the Hollywood method of dual-system, sync-sound production where the image and the sound are recorded by separate crew members, the cinematographer and the sound recordist, on separate devices. Most students take the course for the full three weeks but there is also a shorter two week option where they do not make the final "Kubrick" project.
The first two days of the week are spent learning the fundamentals of filmmaking with separate classes in screenwriting, directing technique, producing, cinematography and sound recording. By midweek, students are "in production" making their first films in small crews of three to four filmmakers along with several actors from the acting program. Each crew is supervised by an accomplished production instructor who helps guide the director and crew to ensure a safe and successful day of shooting. Once the films are "in the can," the week ends with post-production classes in editing and sound design. Students edit their films and are critiqued in class by their instructors. That night, all the movies are screened in the theater at the weekly Friday night showcase for the entire camp.
Monday and Tuesday, in the mornings, SOCAPA film students take their main Writing and Directing classes. In Writing class, students generate ideas, learn fundamentals of three-act structure, and workshop their scripts. In Directing class, they learn the basics of film language, camera placement, and shot construction.
In the afternoons, students take technical camera and sound classes. In Cinematography class, students are introduced to the digital cameras that they will use. After in-class demonstrations, students conduct exterior shooting exercises and then come back and project the footage in class. In Sound class, students discuss the best strategies for recording high quality production audio and learn to use handheld audio recorders, a variety of microphones, and production slates.
On Thursday, students have their first Editing class. The editing teacher demonstrates the software and then the students cut their first films, under the direct supervision of their instructor, right in class. Extra editing time is available for those who need it. On Friday, there is an in-class critique of all the first films in the morning. In the afternoon, the students are back in their writing and directing classes, preparing for their second week projects. That night, the whole camp gathers in the theater to watch the first week "Showcase Screening" of all the completed student films.
SOCAPA offers the immediate opportunity to learn the most recent advancements in digital technologies. In the Core Fimmaking intensives, students will be using state-of-the art 1080p High Definition video cameras. All students are encouraged to edit on Adobe Premiere digital editing systems (Students with experience editing in other software may consult their film instructor for permission to use an alternative editing system.)
Each Core Filmmaking student writes, directs and edits one film of their own per week of attendance. Each SOCAPA project is inspired by a film director who exemplifies a mastery of the techniques that we cover that week in class. Please note that two week students do not make the third "Kubrick" film.
In a single shot of up to two minutes, students tell a simple story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. The project takes its name from the first films by the 19th-century pioneers of early cinema, Pierre and August Lumière. The focus, here, is on mise-en-scène, an essential concept in the art of filmmaking. Students are challenged to carefully arrange all the elements that appear within the shot itself - camera movement, composition, blocking of actors, props, and lighting - to most effectively and creatively tell their stories.
Edwin Porter was one of the first filmmakers to consider the possibilities of editing shots together in a continuous fashion. He led the way in creating the illusion of "continuity," where material shot over the course of days or weeks looks, once it is cut together in sequence, as if it all flows together over the course of minutes. His famous film, The Great Train Robbery, is the inspiration for this second film, where students explore the same issues Porter faced, and make a 3-4 minute film that focuses on continuity. Students have four hours to shoot this film and one day to edit.
Perhaps the greatest and most innovative filmmaker that America has produced, Stanley Kubrick made one masterpiece after another over his five decade career. He set the standard for cinematic excellence in a multitude of genres, combining staging, lighting, set design, acting, and editing to create a radical new vision of what film can do. With films such as "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Dr. Strangelove," "Barry Lyndon," "Lolita," "The Shining," and "Full Metal Jacket," Kubrick proved himself again and again to be a master of his craft. For their third film, a 4-5 minute project, we challenge SOCAPA students to take everything they have learned in the previous weeks and to forge their own masterpiece. Students have a full day to shoot this film and two days to edit.
SOCAPA offers small classes and an accomplished teaching staff comprised of industry professionals with recent and ongoing production experience. Drawn from some of the top universities and film schools, including the Ivy League, USC, the American Film Institute, NYU, and Columbia, the instructors at SOCAPA guide the students through the program with delicacy and skill.
Film Program Director, New York City
MFA Film, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Has worked in the film industry as a cinematographer, an editor, and a writer/director. First short film was an Official Sundance Selection in 1996 and has won awards at festivals worldwide. First feature, Spin the Bottle, was released by TLA Releasing in 2001. Taught for over five years as a Professor of Film at Long Island University. Originally from Vermont.
Film Program Director, Los Angeles
MFA Film, Columbia University. Served as Senior Producer for Manning Productions and as Director/Writer/Editor for Sagebrush Productions. Award Winning Director: Regional Finalist for the Student Academy Awards, Princess Grace Honorarium, two-time Columbia College Chicago Big Screen Finalist, and winner of two Telly awards. Feature film Directing debut on Revival, December of 2015. Originally from Hot Springs, Arkansas. [jengerber.com]
Film Program Director, Vermont
BFA Film, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. LA based writer, director, editor and cinematographer. His short film, “Curtis,” received an honorable mention at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Shot and co-produced the feature documentary, Off and Running, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for a 2011 Emmy Award. Freelances as a film editor with credits for PBS and many emerging film- makers. Taught film production at Long Island University. [jacobokada.com]
Advanced Filmmaking, New York City
MFA Film, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Before entering the world of film, Nick studied literature and theatre at Princeton University and taught English at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. His films have played at Lincoln Center. Assistant Director on the 2011 Academy Award-winning short “God of Love.” He is currently developing a dark romantic comedy. Originally from Manhattan but also spent time, growing up, in Westport, CT.[nickordway.com]
Core Filmmaking, New York City
MFA Film, Columbia University. Awarded with a Fulbright scholarship to pursue his MFA in Film Directing and Screenwriting at Columbia University. His award-winning short films have been screened in more than 150 Film Festivals and Contemporary Art Museums including Telluride Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival and Pompidou Centre in Paris. Originally from Madrid, Spain. [javierloarte.com]
Advanced Filmmaking, Los Angeles
BFA with Honors Film, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. His first feature film, The Big Bad Swim, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and screened at festivals around the world, including Karlovy Vary, Munich, Zurich and Istanbul Film Festivals. The film follows an adult beginner’s swim class and stars Paget Brewster and Jess Weixler. The Big Bad Swim received a runner-up Audience Award for Best Director from the Seattle International Film Festival and won best American Independent from the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival among others. Ishai’s latest feature film, The Kitchen, stars Laura Prepon, Bryan Greenberg, Dreama Walker and Amber Stevens. That film opened in theaters in LA in March, 2013, and was released in the US by Monterey Media. Ishai won a Vimeo Filmmaker Grant for The Kitchen and the film is currently airing internationally on The Sundance Channel. Ishai was selected as a member of the 2014-2016 ABC/Disney DGA Directing Fellowship. In addition to directing, Ishai also works as an editor. He edited the feature documentary Artifact, which was directed by Jared Leto. He also worked as an editor on the TV shows Glee and Scream Queens.[ishaisetton.com]
Core & Advanced Filmmaking, Vermont
Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Miguel Silveira lives and works in NYC. After wrapping his first feature-length documentary I Am a Visitor in Your World (Official selection - Woodstock Film Festival, Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Athens Film + Video Festival) Miguel completed his thesis film at Columbia University, a political thriller titled Devil's Work. The film was selected by Columbia University's festival jury as one of the seven best films to come out of the program in 2014. The film also received the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation production grant, the Caucus Foundation award for excellence in filmmaking, the DGA awards for best film in its category and it was selected as a semi-finalist at the Student Academy Awards competition. Miguel developed and directed the Venezuelan chapter of MTV's documentary series Rebel Music, executive produced by Shepard Fairey, which aired worldwide in 2015. Miguel has taught in institutions such as Columbia College Chicago, EICTV in San Antonio de Los Banos, Cuba as well as Columbia University. He is also a proud sponsor of the Telluride Film Festival City Lights Program. After receiving his MFA from Columbia University, Miguel co-founded NoPort Films and is currently in production for the feature film American Thief and in development for DROPHOUSE, a political-thriller to be shot in Detroit in 2017.[miguelsilveira.com]
Christoph Rainer is an Austrian filmmaker who graduated from The Filmacademy Vienna with a concentration in directing. He then received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue his MFA at Columbia University in New York, where he graduated with honors. His short films have been invited to over 250 film festivals worldwide, screened at museums such as the Tabakelera in San Sebastian and the MoMA in New York and have won numerous awards such as the TIFF Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
Advanced Filmmaking and Advanced Projects, New York City
Levi Abrino is a writer and director based in Los Angeles, CA. Most recently, he wrote for Amazon Prime's award-winning kids series Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street. And, he helped produce and script the feature-length romantic comedy It Had To Be You, starring Cristin Milioti (Fargo, Wolf of Wall Street), currently in festivals. Levi is a graduate of New York University's prestigious Film Directing MFA program, and his short films Little Horses, The Lonely Bliss of the Cannonball Luke, and I Ran with a Gray Ghost have screened and won awards at numerous film festivals in the US and abroad. He is also an accomplished editor, notably cutting the Oscar-winning short film God of Love and the feature film Lovesick, starring Matt LeBlanc.
Levi grew up with three siblings on a dairy farm in rural Western Pennsylvania. He has degrees in Geography and Filmmaking from Penn State University, which, after graduating, he was able to parlay into a job on the teller line of a small town bank. Here, his duties included cashing checks, taking deposits, and playing the crook in Friday-morning bank robbery drills. [leviabrino.com]
Core and Advanced Filmmaking, Los Angeles and New York City
MFA Film, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Craig's thesis project, True Adolescents, was released in 2009 as his first feature film. He has since written and directed a second feature, The Skeleton Twins, released in 2014 and recently directed Wilson, starring Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer and Laura Dern, due for release in 2016. Craig is originally from Bellingham, Washington where he studied theatre at the University of Washington and worked for several years in theatre and sketch comedy. He currently lives and works as a screenwriter and director in Los Angeles, California.
MFA Film, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Luke's thesis film, God of Love, which Luke wrote, directed and starred in, won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2011. Luke continues to work as a writer, director, and producer of film and television. Luke's first feature co-writing credit, A Birder's Guide to Everything was released in 2014. He has since directed the feature film Lovesick, starring Matt LeBlanc, and the TV series' Maron and Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street.
Screenwriting, New York City
Lisa received her B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Pennsylvania and her MFA in film from Columbia University. She is currently in pre-production for a new Netflix original series, Gypsy. She is also adapting the best-selling novel I Was Hereby Gayle Forman for New Line Cinema, and has been tapped to adapt the novel Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit by Jessica Tom for DreamWorks Studios.
MFA Film, Columbia University. Andrew received a Sloan Foundation Treatment Fellowship for his feature-length screenplay 40 Watts From Nowhere, and the screenplay for his short film Fish won the Katharina Otto-Bernstein Development Grant. Andrew’s experience teaching and working with teens ranges from helping to create the “Young Artist Film Lab,” working as an inaugural instructor for “Project FOCUS (Filmmakers Of Color United in Spirit),” and working as a Screenwriting Preceptor for a 15-week screenwriting course at Columbia University.
"Thank you so much! SOCAPA was fabulous - the staff was amazing and I'd never heard my daughter so happy. She called every day and said she was having the time of her life. She really learned so much and also enjoyed every aspect of the program. This was definitely one of the best run programs I've ever encountered and I have an older daughter who's experienced a few others as well and didn't compare to yours. Thank you!"
Kristine M, Katonah, NY