For two weeks, beginning July 24, Roaring Fork Valley teens, age 12 to 16, will gain first-hand experience as documentary filmmakers. Better yet, the film’s subject matter focuses on Roaring Fork Rock and Roll Academy students rehearsing, preparing backstage and live in concert.
Although this scenario might seem reminiscent of the plot of the 1984 mockumentary, “This Is Spinal Tap,” this is a serious collaboration between Aspen Film, The Art Base, Colorado Film School, Red Brick Center for the Arts and Roaring Fork Rock and Roll Academy.
In its third year of film camp offerings, Aspen Film wanted to expand its programming to teens who live mid- to downvalley. The Art Base, located in downtown Basalt, proved to be a central location.
This is the first year that The Art Base is partnering with Aspen Film on one of its summer film camps. Aspen Film’s track record of two successful years creating filmmaking opportunities for teens left Lisa DeLosso, The Art Base’s executive director, eager to join.
“I think Aspen Film is a great partner, because they have proof of concept that this camp really works for teens. It’s engaging,” DeLosso shared.
Erin McVoy, Aspen Film’s operations and production director, said the idea for this summer’s film camp came about last fall when she had a conversation with Kriss Harrison, executive director and lead instructor of Roaring Fork Rock and Roll Academy.
Harrison has assisted Aspen Film with a few audio-video projects. Last fall, he and McVoy were talking about his work with students at the Rock and Roll Academy.
“While we were chatting, the recollection that several film camp participants had previously told me they would like to make a music video popped into my head,” McVoy recalled. “The idea to have Aspen Film campers record and interact with the young rock ‘n’ rollers sparked naturally from there.”
Two filmmaking instructors from the Denver-based Colorado Film School will be returning this year. McVoy said the pair actively work as professionals in the industry and have created award-winning programming for PBS and other outlets.
“The caliber of the instructors is top-notch. They bring a wealth of knowledge, as well as the latest equipment and a wide variety of professional skills with them,” said McVoy. “This breadth of experience allows them to keep up to date with the most cutting-edge technology and share relevant industry best practices with our film camp participants.”
Film camp students will gain hands-on experience of what it is like to film on location in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. They will learn techniques to set and steady cameras, maximize the use of available light and record sound while there is ambient background noise.
In addition to the technical skills of filmmaking, “they will build teamwork and problem solving skills, which are often the real keys to success when recording in complex environments,” McVoy said.
While the primary focus of film camp is to produce a short documentary film, students will also experience making a standalone music video of a Rock and Roll Academy performance.
The camp culminates in a screening of the documentary at Movieland 7 in El Jebel on Aug. 4.
DeLosso said the opportunity for The Art Base to collaborate with Aspen Film and to host students is exhilarating.There is the potential for students to light a creative spark within themselves.
“Students can explore filmmaking as a possible hobby, or a career. There’s just so much great energy based around this camp, and we’re really excited to be a part of it,” DeLosso concluded.
The Roc Doc Film Camp runs July 24 to 28 and July 31 to Aug. 4. Students must attend both weeks. Instruction is available in English and Spanish. Tuition is $940 with scholarships available. For more information, go to www.aspenfilm.org/roc-doc-camp-2023