Kids Learn Filmmaking from Professionals

By Lisa Biehle Files

Middle and elementary school students can learn about video, lighting, audio and editing at two Young Filmmakers Workshops from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 6 (grades 6 to 8) and Dec. 13 (grades 3 to 5). Two Chicago-area film industry professionals, director Andrew Freer and editor Lucy Coria, will lead the workshops. They have planned a “hands-on, learning by doing” experience for participants.

Each workshop will take place at The Depot, 401 Thatcher Ave., in River Forest. Registration is through the River Forest Park District at a cost of $25 for residents and $30 for non-residents. Participants should bring a nut-free sack lunch; water and snack will be provided. Please register here (with code #2216.220 or #2216.221)

Green Community Connections and One Earth Film Festival are sponsoring the workshops with the hope that some/all participants will enter the annual Young Filmmakers Contest. The Contest challenge is to create a three to eight-minute film or a 45-second animation about one of six issues related to climate change and sustainability: energy, food, transportation, waste, water, or open space and ecosystems.

Contest winners will receive cash prizes ranging from $75 to $500, as well as matching grants for the sustainability organizations of their choice. They will also receive a world-premier screening of their film at the One Earth Film Festival on March 5, 2016. Winners will be recognized in each category level: college, high school, middle school and elementary school. Submissions are due Jan. 17, 2016; more contest details are here.

Andrew Freer



Andrew became interested in filmmaking when he was a middle-school student himself. After creating a stop-motion video for a science class, he was hooked on filmmaking throughout middle and high school. Andrew went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science, but then started work as a film production assistant for various studios in Chicago.

At that time, he created his first, feature-length documentary, which won an Award of Merit from the Accolade Competition and was nominated for best political documentary at the Action on Film Festival. This helped him attain his own clients and subsequently start his own company, Heave-Ho Productions, in 2008. Marriott, Netflix, Disney, YMCA, and Opportunity International are among his many clients.

Andrew’s goals for the Young Filmmakers Workshop are threefold: “First, I want to get kids excited about filmmaking. This class is meant to whet the appetite of students to go off and do more on their own. Second, I want to show that filmmaking is both an art and a science. To be good at storytelling, you first need to be good at your craft. Knowing how to set up a camera and lights is an important skill. Finally, I hope we can all have a little fun using the gear and making a video in class.”

Lucy Coria

Film Editor Lucy Coria

Film Editor Lucy Coria

While she was in high school, Lucy became interested in filmmaking through a neighborhood after-school program called “Street-Level Youth Media” in West Chicago. This experience nurtured her skills before she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in television post-production. After graduating, Lucy worked as a freelance video editor with expertise in Final Cut Pro and Avid.

Since marrying and giving birth to three children, her life has taken a new turn. She is currently working on a master’s degree in education with certification in Primary Montessori Education, while working part time as a primary school teaching assistant at Creative World Montessori in LaGrange.

For the Young Filmmakers Workshops, Lucy hopes to combine her expertise as a freelance film editor with her newly minted teaching skills. She says: “In film, it’s a joy to piece together a story through post-production and editing, having it all come together into a big story. For the Young Filmmakers Workshops, I want the children to come out inspired to create their own stories after getting some solid, hands-on experience.”

Check out a 3-minute sample from Heave-Ho Productions.