Film camp helps kids express creativity through art

Ismael Perez By Ismael Perez

Aug. 2, 2017 at 10:06 p.m.
Updated Aug. 2, 2017 at 8 p.m.

Sally Mott, 12, and Brett Martinez, 14, run from zombies during filming for a kids camp at Rosebud Fountain and Grill.

Sally Mott, 12, and Brett Martinez, 14, run from zombies during filming for a kids camp at Rosebud Fountain and Grill.   Angela Piazza for The Victoria Advocate

With black and white rock star makeup and bushy black wigs, four kids dressed as the band members of Kiss slowly turned into zombies at the Rosebud Fountain and Grill.

The sight is not what someone would ever imagine seeing in downtown Victoria, but it would be a good description of what goes through a child's imagination.

"Sometimes kids don't get to express themselves in school the way they do here," said Jake Ramirez, instructor. "This summer camp allows them to have a creative outlet."

The Rosebud shut down for two days to shoot one of the many short films produced by children who attended the four-week Young Filmmakers Institute summer camp.

The films produced throughout the film camp will be screened at the "Slumber" event at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Victoria Fine Arts Center.

Anthony Pedone, 47, camp organizer and founder of the annual Victoria TX Independent Film Festival, said about 26 kids attended the film camp throughout the four weeks when they developed original ideas and learned about filmmaking.

The children learned about things such as character development, how to operate a camera, creating special effects with makeup and how to work together as a team.

Henderson Payne, 7; Jett Pedone, 9; Kyus Pedone, 7; and Miles Yoast, 9, portrayed Kiss members Peter Criss, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons.

Henderson said he learned about lighting, how to operate a camera by how to put the blur on and how to make it go away.

Throughout the camp, the young students were able to apply their knowledge onto short films that came from their own ideas.

Pedone said the camp encouraged the kids to use teamwork and to build each other's confidence by discussing each idea equally.

"Those were all their ideas and decisions," Pedone said. "We were just here to produce and have their minds lead."

The camp attendees produced eight films dealing with bedtime, dreaming or sleeping rituals that will be screened at the "Slumber" event.

Seven of the films will be 30-second to three-minute shorts.

And, the one shot Monday and Tuesday at the Rosebud titled "Day of the Cheerleader" will be about eight minutes long.

The film starts with a cheerleader who is dumped via text message by her boyfriend, Justin, who is with his friends at a costume contest and screening "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park."

The cheerleader comes to work at the costume contest, where the cook gives her a potion that will make Justin fall back in love with her.

What she doesn't know is that the cook gave a her a potion that turns everybody into zombies.

She puts the potion in the popcorn meant for Justin, but the waiter accidentally takes it to a table of boys dressed up like Kiss.

They eat the popcorn, and pandemonium ensues as everyone turns into zombies.

Brett Martinez, 14, who plays Justin in the film, attended the camp with his younger brother, Brock Martinez, 12.

While Brett has acted on stage in school, he said it was his first time acting in front of a camera.

"We got to see how things work behind and in front of the camera," he said. "The learning was actually fun because everyone at the camp was very welcoming."

Ramirez said having the short films viewed by the community will help the kids tremendously because they will be able to receive feedback about their work.

Brett said he learned about a lot of things during camp, and the experience will help him in the future.

"This is what I want to do when I get older, and the camp helped me get my first experience," Brett said. "I learned lot and had fun with other kids while doing it."


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