Young filmmakers inspired

Aspiring filmmakers recently spent a week in the Big Apple, honing their skills and learning what it takes to create a film. 

Matthew Whittaker, 17, and Marianne McMurdo,13, winners of the 2013 Young Image Makers Short Film Competition, hosted by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, spent a week this summer at the New York Film Academy, described as having “the most hands-on intensive programs in the world.”  

With temperatures nudging the 100 degree mark, it was hot, hard work for the students, and there was much to learn about the art of making movies.  

As part of the course, each participant made his or her own film from concept to completion.  

“The idea of having full control on a project that means something to you is quite a freeing experience,” said Matthew. “One thing I learned that I thought was quite pivotal to know was that whenever I’m working with actors, when doing a scene, I need to let the actor know what their character’s intentions are and what their reasoning for what they do is, because for an actor to do something and not know why he or she has done it would be quite pointless.” 

The writing section was a favorite for Marianne. “I enjoyed this because I love writing, and that was one of the main things that made me enjoy making films: having the ideas I’ve written come to life,” she said. “In the future I can see myself wanting to become a screenwriter/director and writer of films.” 

Marianne also said she learned a great deal about the different roles on a film set.  

“For instance, I knew what a director did, but I didn’t have a complete understanding of his role before coming. Also, the complex roles of the cinematographer.” 

There was no shortage of technical information to be gleaned on the workings of the camera, and features such as white balance, zebra stripes, and so on, the students say, and both concluded that they had a far greater sense of overall control from behind the camera than in front of it.  

Matthew and Marianne both returned from New York with the firm conviction that they want to work in the film industry and are grateful to have had the opportunity to attend.