Through a partnbership with the Boy's & Girl's Club of Portland and the Portland Police Department, our newest initiative, the Urban Filmmakers Project, is set to launch this spring! We will be offering a 1-week after school program, at no cost, to middle school students at the Boys & Girls Club of Portland. Through this program we will provide an introduction to the exciting world of film production and impart the same values and lessons that are learned at our summer camps.
If you have any questions about the Urban Filmmakers Project, or want to suggest a possible youth organization for us to partner with, please contact us.
Once again, the New England Film Academy had a strong presence at the Maine Student Film & Video Festival. The Maine Student Film & Video Festival (MSFVF), held every year as part of the Maine Int’l Film Festival in Waterville, took place on July 17th. The MSFVF is open to Maine residents 19 years of age and younger and the movies submitted to the Festival are judged on the basis of originality, content, style, and technique. Movies are reviewed by categories: Pre-Teen Division, grades K - 6; Junior Division, grades 7 - 8; and Senior Division, grades 9 - 12. All film genres are accepted and usually are entered from animation, documentary and narrative.
Each year finalists and winners movies are selected for screening at the Festival’s Public Screening and Awards Presentation. Held at the Waterville Opera House students, parents, friends and interested public come to see the students movies on the big screen and have a chance to hear from the young moviemakers as they come on stage to receive their awards.
Last summer, the New England Film Academy made a splash in their debut at the Maine Student Film & Video Festival with five films being selected as either finalists or winners across the Jr. and Sr. Divisions. This year, the trend continued with four films being selected, two as winners!
Debuting our Jr. Filmmakers Movie Week (Ages 8-10) last summer, our kids produced an animated short, “Under The Sea”, and won the Pre-Teen Division at this year's festival!
Our Young Filmmakers Movie Camp (Ages 11-13) had two films selected this year. “A Fiction of Sorts” was selected as a finalist in the Jr. Division, while "Waldo: Then & Now" was another winner, also in the Jr. Division!
Our joint effort between our Teen Filmmakers Workshop and Teen Actors Workshop, both ages 14-17, the jarring “Alone” was selected as a finalist in the Senior Division. Great job!
We are currently in production on our latest slate of films, so be on the lookout next year for even more NEFA films coming soon to a film festival near you!
Through our Urban Filmmakers Project, due to launch this fall, we will be partnering with various youth-centered organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club, in the Greater Boston & Greater Portland areas to offer 1-week after school programs, at no cost, to middle school students in low-income areas wishing to learn more about the filmmaking process. Through these programs we will impart the same values and lessons that are learned at our summer camps.
In addition, we will be able to identify those aspiring filmmakers that show a true passion and love for movies and the filmmaking process that would be ideal candidates to attend the Academy’s summer programs. Through our Community Outreach Program we will work with the families of these children to assist in making all the necessary arrangements, financial/transportation, to be sure that their child can attend the Academy the following summer. If you have any questions about the Urban Filmmakers Project, or want to suggest a possible youth organization for us to partner with, please contact us.
Fourteen years ago, when Christopher Watkins left his home in southern California and moved to Maine, making movies was not a profession to which he aspired. Although he grew up amidst the Hollywood film industry, it was actually what he refers to as the “Maine way of life” that inspired his creative juices. Discovering he had a talent for writing, Watkins set out to learn all he could about screenwriting and enrolled in a course at the University of Southern Maine.
After completing the nearly year-long course, Watkins formed Silver Screen Dreams. The company produced training videos, a television pilot and also found success with its short film SideSitters.
But something was still lacking for Watkins. In 2005, with his own frustration over the lack of educational resources for aspiring filmmakers in the state, as well as his commitment to contributing to the success of Maine’s growing film industry, Watkins opened the doors to the New England Film Academy.
Operating on the campus of Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, New England Film Academy is a non-profit corporation that offers one to two week summer camp programs for children ages eight to seventeen. The academy offers four different age-appropriate workshops:
Now into its fifth year in Maine, Watkins is excited as the organization opens up a second location this summer on the campus of Bentley University, in Waltham, Massachusetts. Each of the programs offered at the Maine location will also be offered at the Waltham campus. Watkins shared how satisfying it has been to see, over the course of the last five years, students returning each year to learn the next level of the craft, and is confident that the same thing will happen at the new location.
He explained that within each course, each group has a lead instructor and several counselors. The lead instructors have both educational and working experience in the film industry. For counselor positions, Watkins said that the organization is always looking for film school students or recent graduates. He encourages anyone interested in working at the academy this summer to contact him.
This fall, Watkins hopes to branch out even further with his programs, starting in the Boston area. Working particularly in areas where there may not be affordable resources to help develop and cultivate prospective talent, Watkins is forging partnerships with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, to bring programs to these kids. Most will be full scholarships, so fundraising is another avenue that will be added to Watkins’s duty as academy director.
For any student who participates in any of the academy’s programs, Watkins shared this, “Even if they don’t become filmmakers, what they learn about teamwork, problem solving, completing a goal… are all invaluable life lessons they take away with them.”