“Our hope, as we continue to grow Film Camp year after year, is to promote how these incredible projects are made by cool youth who are learning to share their vision through their storytelling as filmmakers," said Aspen Film's Erica McVoy. Courtesy photo by Ellen Huttenhower

Think of it like summer camp, but without the mosquitos.

At the beginning of August, Aspen Film and the Red Brick Center for the Arts, in collaboration with the Colorado Film School, are presenting two week-long summer filmmaking camps for teens.

In its second year, the summer filmmaking camp falls under the Film Educates programming umbrella and is one of the “multi-pronged educational arms of Aspen Film that focuses on youth education,” explained Erin McVoy, Aspen Film operations and productions director.

Camp sessions are designed for youth interested in the art of filmmaking, with all classes held at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.

Week one of the camp – An Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking – is for youth ages 12 to 16 and runs from Aug. 1 through Aug. 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This camp is for students who have never used filmmaking equipment and focuses on learning the fundamentals. This includes exploring elements of storytelling and how to lay out storyboards. Campers can work individually or in teams of two or three to define the film’s narrative and subject.

Using high production value equipment to film interviews and editing platforms to create a short film, students will also learn how to create captioning and soundtrack files to incorporate into their work.

McVoy said it is basic level filmmaking on a compressed timeline. Last year, the campers created six projects that were one to two minutes each.

Week two – Advanced Techniques for Documentary Filmmaking – is for ages 14 to 17 and runs from Aug. 8 through Aug. 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For this session, McVoy said, “We’ve asked that campers have done some content creation, whether that’s on TikTok or another platform, and have done some work on their own.”

The advanced session will be formatted as a team-based film project “to be more realistic in terms of how a film set works,” McVoy said. Students will rotate through various tasks — from director to sound technician to videographer. Completed films will be close to five to ten minutes long.

McVoy said youth in the Roaring Fork Valley, while eager to learn, find limited media literacy opportunities. “Curriculum has been cut from schools, and it’s important to provide those opportunities for youth, to start them off on the right foot, to have a potential career in filmmaking or broadcast journalism,” she shared.

Aspen Film handles the filmmaking logistics, including securing shot locations and finding interview subjects. Partnering with the Red Brick Center for the Arts allows for hosting classroom space and handling class registration.

The film camp’s other partner is Denver-based Colorado Film School (CFS), a community college dedicated to filmmaking. Matt Baxter and Aaron Koehler, CFS instructors who taught at last summer’s film camp, are returning. Baxter and Koehler will bring professional filmmaking equipment on loan from CFS.

After each camp concludes, films are shown on the “big screen” at Aspen’s Isis Theatre.

Last year, McVoy said, “the campers thoroughly enjoyed it. They were able to invite family members and a friend or two. After we screened each project, we brought all of the filmmakers — our campers — up front for an interview-style panel with a question-and-answer session. It’s a very nice cherry on top of the project, and they were all quite proud.”

McVoy added, “We intend to expand Film Camp again next summer with not only documentaries but potentially animation — anime and other filmmaking styles.”

One of Aspen Film’s goals is to offer more programming in Spanish. To that end, they have a job opening for a part-time bilingual education coordinator, specifically in support of Film Educates programming.

In addition to the summer camp, Aspen Film hopes to start an after-school filmmaking program. “Part of our goal is to expand Film Camp and create other filmmaking opportunities, deepening our relationships in the schools.”

For information about Aspen Film’s summer filmmaking camp for teens, go to aspenfilm.org/film-camp-2022/

Scholarship applications are available at the Red Brick Center’s website at www.redbrickaspen.com/

For information about the part-time bilingual education coordinator position, go to aspenfilm.org/work-with-us/