Six One Earth Young Filmmakers Workshops started in the heat of summer, on August 11, and finished up amid a winter chill on December 9. Recent art school graduates and accomplished, award-winning film directors taught content, which ranged from stop-motion to live action.
Local students took top prizes in the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest at the elementary and middle school levels in both 2018 and 2017. Winning films premiered at the One Earth Film Festival in March at Columbia College along with top films from across the country at high school and college levels. At that time, students were fêted with monetary prizes, certificates, T-shirts, and a reception.
Kids in grades 3 to 8 went to the moon, the beach, and a New Year’s Eve party via green screen animation during this year’s One Earth Young Filmmakers Workshops. Held in early December, three workshops taught kids filmmaking skills just for fun and to encourage them enter the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest.
By Lisa Biehle Files
One Earth Film Festival offers three filmmaking workshops for kids from 3rd through 8th grades which are just for fun or to help develop skills to enter the Young Filmmakers Contest.
High school students in need of extra help with filmmaking may partake of artist/teacher Jeff Lassahn’s free tutelage from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, at the Chicago Public Library’s YouMedia, 400 S. State St., in Chicago. Call 312-747-5260 first to confirm his availability.
Live Action Workshops for Grades 3 to 8 Live action filmmaking workshops are split into two age groups, grades 3 to 5 and grades 6 to 8. Each age group will have two classes lasting 2-1/2 hours each on Sundays, Dec. 4 and 11. Please bring an ipad or tablet, if possible. The first class will cover story, lighting, and audio, with plenty of time for hands on learning. The following week, the focus will be editing and production. Kids will have time to shoot additional footage during the week between classes.
These two workshops will be held in collaboration with the River Forest Park District at the Depot, 401 Thatcher Ave. Register for grades 3 to 5 here, and for grades 6 to 8 here. Class times for the former go from noon to 2:30 p.m. and for the latter, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Cost is $30 for residents of River Forest and $35 for non-residents. Water and a nut-free snack will be provided.
Artist/teacher Jeff Lassahn will guide these workshops with help from freelance film editor Lucy Coria as well as animators David Wall and Lauren Travers (more below).
Animation Workshop for Grades 3 to 8Animators David Wall and Lauren Travers will teach students stop-motion animation using iPads, animation stations, and a special in-house app provided by Steve and Kate’s Camp. Legos will be available, and students are also welcome to bring drawing materials.
This class will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at St. Vincent Ferrer School Gymnasium, 1515 Lathrop, in River Forest. Cost is $30 per person. Water and a nut-free snack will be provided. Register here.
Jeff LassahnFor the past four years, Jeff has worked as an after-school teacher and mentor to high school students at Chicago Public Library’s YouMedia. There he conducts workshops in photography, video, art, and graphic design using new methods for informal learning.
Jeff is also an artist with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University (2009). Based on the message he tries to convey through his art, Jeff experiments with media. As he writes on LinkedIn: “I am passionate about creating, whether it is with centuries old tools or cutting-edge equipment--and I am especially passionate about working with others on these techniques.”
Themes for his artwork are inequality, war, and politics. “I work with coloring books, digital images, three-dimensional sculpture, interactive sculpture, screen printing, lithography, drawing, painting—it’s a long list. I almost never do the same thing more than once,” he says.
In October, Jeff’s artwork was shown in Illinois, Wisconsin, Tennessee, New Jersey, and New York State (sample below). His film work has screened at festivals around the world, from Egypt to Great Britain.
Jeff’s goal for the Young Filmmakers Workshops is skill development, no matter the student’s level. He adds, “I’d like to show that editing is not just a mechanical step or routine work but that it is also a creative process. The kids will make important decisions in editing that affect what they say and how entertaining or interesting their films can be.”
Lauren TraversLauren developed her passion for animation through a stop-motion class at DePaul University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in digital cinema in 2013.
“I was totally infatuated,” she said. “I think it was the magic of it—building an entire world from your imagination. You can make everything from scratch, build every set, prop, and puppet, and then animate it into life. ”
Since graduating, Lauren has worked on “Banana Season,” “Gardening at Night,” and “Stage Three” as art director, art assistant, and production designer. Currently, she interns for Chicago Loop Alliance, creating holiday videos.
Recently, Lauren and co-teacher David Wall (her fiancée) created the Claymation music video for the song, “Fanger” by The Kickback. After 6 months of work shooting 2500 pictures, they premiered this video in June: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63pKPPuayMU
Lauren explained, “Stop-motion animation is extremely labor intensive. It’s not difficult. It just takes a lot of time and patience, patience, patience.”
Both Lauren and David have worked for Steve and Kate’s Camp during summers to help with their live action and stop-motion studio. Steve and Kate’s Camp owns 16 work stations for animation with iPads and in-house software, which will be on loan to us for the Young Filmmakers Workshop on December 3.
David Arthur Wall In his own words, David is part of “The You Tube generation,” meaning he grew up posting videos on You Tube with friends from the time he was 13 years old.
Fortunately, he channeled this interest into a bachelor’s degree in film and video from Columbia College Chicago, graduating the same year as Lauren: 2013.
While in college, he initially focused on directing film, but later diversified and developed skills in animation and editing.
Much of David’s work has involved filming stories about schools and children. He created an admission video for a Chiaravalle Montessori School in Evanston, made two training videos for Right at School (a nationwide after-school program), and was filmmaker-in-residence for Steve and Kate’s Camp. The latter position involved creating a film each week highlighting life at the camp in addition to helping kids develop their nascent projects.
He is excited about teaching the Young Filmmakers animation workshop and says: “Stop-motion is an art form that has been around since the beginning of film. I mean, King Kong was made using stop-motion. It’s the exact same technique today, but what is amazing is that we, and even kids, can do this with an iPad now.”
David and Lauren are also collaborating on a comic, stop-motion, web series which they’ve been working on, incrementally, for two years. Patience, patience, patience.
Lucy Coria will return as an assistant teacher. Read about her in last year’s filmmaking workshop article here.