If you’re wondering what to do with your restless teenagers this summer, other than sending them away, the Summer Media Arts Camp (SMAC) organized by The Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, might be the answer to your prayers.

SMAC is a two-week intensive camp that introduces teenagers to filmmaking practices under the skillful guide of industry professionals. Participants are given the opportunity to learn every angle of the filmmaking process including: scriptwriting, storyboarding, cinematography, lighting, acting, directing and editing. Nicola Waugh, CSIF programming director, highlights what a rare opportunity it is for these kids to have exposure to this kind of quality experience within such a short period of time. She says that the CSIF is excited to be able to provide this opportunity for kids every year.

The CSIF was established in 1978 by 12 local filmmakers and artists as a response to the growing interest in film production and the need for equipment and resources in Calgary. Now in its 35th year of operation, it continues to be an integral thread in the cultural fabric. As a non-profit organization, they seek to encourage filmmaking as art and to reflect and challenge the ever-changing cultural landscape. The CSIF offers filmmaking workshops on a regular basis, for both members of the organization and non-members. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to join, and allows you access to production and post-production equipment, as well as a reduced rate on the workshops. They also house a film library containing over 2,500 16mm and Super 8 films, both short and feature, with many National Film Board titles among them. All of which are available to the public for rental. The CSIF is an invaluable resource to anyone in Calgary who is interested in filmmaking or possesses a passion for film.

The Summer Media Arts Camp is a remarkable opportunity for kids to participate in every aspect of the filmmaking process, and to let their creative juices flow. Waugh says that the total creative freedom given to the young people really excites them. “Last year,” she says, “they made a spoof of The Godfather, called The Piefather. Lots of pie gags – they loved it. Needless to say, a highlight for them was getting to pie each other in the face.” It is an experience that is not only fun, but also incredibly enriching.

SMAC runs from July 7-18, Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and is available to teens ages 14 to 17. To register, or for more information on the camp or CSIF, visit www.csif.org, email production@csif.org, or call 403-205-4748.

By Holly Burton

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