July 22, 2004 Production is under way on a video documentary about the interrelationships of tourism, education and career opportunities from the perspective of V.I. students. And it's students themselves who are making it.
It's the hands-on project of the 4th annual Youth Moviemaking Workshop taking place at the Reichhold Center for the Arts on the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus.
Twelve young people from throughout the territory are enrolled in this summer's workshop, which is under the direction of Ryan Saunders, a Philadelphia-based independent filmmaker. He's being assisted by St. Thomian Richard Vialet Jr., a cinematography major at Howard University.
Each of the students pitched an idea for the theme of the documentary they would jointly produce, and Sebastian Montague's proposal was selected to be the springboard for the effort.
This is the first year the workshop participants are creating a documentary; the previous three groups have produced narrative films.
The public will get to view the results in the premiere of the documentary scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Reichhold Center.
The Youth Moviemaking Workshop is a seven-week training experience designed to "motivate, educate and build practical skills in the field of digital film production," a release from the Reichhold states. Its goal is to introduce young people ages 13 to 21 to "the technology, art and discipline of filmmaking."
The first four weeks concentrated on the language and techniques of filmmaking, as the youngsters completed assignments designed to reinforce what they had been taught about digital cameras, lighting and sound equipment, videoediting and teamwork.
These last three weeks are being spent actually producing the documentary.
In the final week the footage shot by the students will be edited in the Reichhold's Digital Media Institute facilities using Final Cut Pro, a leading cinema-industry computer editing software program.
Denise Humphrey, workshop program coordinator and technical director of the Reichhold Center, says it is satisfying this summer to have "students from across the territory" involved this summer.
The participants in addition to Sebastian Montague are: Keryn Callender, Victoria Cornelius, Calis Cuthbertson, Claude Allan Francis, Tigre James, Makeda Leonard, Bianca Mosica-Harley, Lamarr Parson, Caprisha Richards, Jessica Saintibert and Elisa Thomas.
Reichhold director David Edgecombe, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Digital Movie Institute, has said that the knowledge and skills acquired in the summer experiences "will benefit each student for a lifetime We hope to have started something that will lead to a tradition of producing world-class movies from the Virgin Islands."
The workshop is being sponsored by Artists & Communities, a program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Locally, additional support is being provided by the V.I. Council on the Arts, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, the ICC/Prosser Foundation and an Edward Byrne Memorial Grant awarded by the Law-Enforcement Planning Commission.
Saunders was selected to serve as workshop instructor and project adviser through the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. He has produced works including "Bacchanal Time: The People's Carnival" and "Look Ma Dese Streets Not Paved with Gold."
For more information about the workshop or the premiere, call Humphrey at 693-1550.
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