ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Filmmakers from nine states gathered in St. Louis to learn advanced techniques from film industry professionals at the fourth annual FilmFest 4-H held last week. The event helps youths ages 11 to 18 hone skills crucial to filmmaking.
“4-H started as a way to teach ag technology to adults,” says Bradd Anderson, MU Extension 4-H specialist. “So we want to give every advantage to youths at the forefront of communications media, where the technology changes every day.”
“Learning from professionals helps youths to become producers, not just consumers, of digital media,” Anderson says, adding that technology is converging to put high-quality tools at their fingertips.
The filmmaking skills youths learn can be extremely useful in future jobs, says Andrea Sporcic Klund of the Missouri Film Office at the Missouri Division of Tourism. “These video skills will be necessary for everyone in future careers like reading and writing skills are today.”
Many life skills can be developed through filmmaking, Anderson says. “Budgeting, self-expression, decision-making and problem-solving are all things you can learn from raising a cow, building a robot or making a film. It just depends on where your interests lie.”
The partnership between Missouri 4-H and the Missouri Film Office creates opportunities for young film enthusiasts to work with film industry professionals, says Anderson. “The pros show how it’s really done, then work with them on how to approach it with a teenager’s budget.”
This year’s presenters included casting director Joni Tackette, Sight and Sound Production’s David Houlle, and Hollywood stuntman Brian Peters. Los Angeles-based director Emily Hagins made herself available for the entire event, says Anderson, fielding hundreds of questions and offering constructive advice.
St. Louis-based businesses were also big contributors to FilmFest 4-H, says Sporcic Klund, noting the donation of a satellite truck by Kaufman Broadcast. Veteran photojournalist Russ Weston, winner of four Emmy and six Telly awards, used this truck to conduct workshops on how remote productions get to television screens.
Later, the nationally acclaimed Coolfire Studios hosted the youths, who spoke with animation artists, sound producers and film producers for an inside look at a video and commercial production.
FilmFest 4-H gives young people an opportunity to travel to Missouri. Rebecca Kendrick, who lives near the Florida-Georgia border, says 4-H has provided opportunities for travel. She submitted a video of her EDGE (Experience, Develop, Grow and Excel) Adventure travels with other youths this summer to national landmarks such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.
Sara Hatlewick of North Dakota uses her filmmaking skills to promote 4-H. She says 4-H has taught her to be responsible, fair and conscious of deadlines. “It’s anything and everything I do,” she says.
During the event, 4-H’ers had an opportunity to view films made by their peers. “Voices of 4-H History” films were recognized at the 2014 4-H FilmFest.
Nik Henderson of Strafford, Texas, Entity
Gage Milton of Southlake, Texas, The Tale of Darren and Gollroth
Adam Heironimus of Springfield, Missouri, The Kite
Zachary Suell of Springfield, Tennessee, Operation Christmas Child: Tennessee 4-H
Brian Lucear of Lithonia, Georgia, Health Rocks: DeKalb County and GA 4-H
Elisabeth Moughon of Erwin, Tennessee, 4-H Hikes to Health
Anna Clary of Adams, Tennessee, Luke Gets a Job
Benjamin Conklin of Banner, Wyoming, Makey and the Dragon
Madeline, Jackson and Audrey Chairvolotti of Grand Isle, Vermont, Henry VIII and his Six Wives
VOICES OF 4-H HISTORY
Clay Ferguson of San Leandro, California, 100-Year Anniversary: 4-H and the Alameda County Fair
Eric Glaze of Waynesville, Ohio, A Centennial of Extension with Dr. D. Howard Doster
Kelsey Hibl & Brittany Berger of Dickenson, North Dakota, Voices of Stark County 4-H
Adam Heironimus of Springfield, Missouri, 22 Months with a Go Pro
Bethany Reiten of Kathryn, North Dakota, The Dogs of the James River Humane Society
Jordyn Osborne of Grandview, Missouri, Jordyn's Orikaro
Anna Clary, Hanson Alford and Wyatt Plank of Adams, Tennessee, Keeping Up With Jerry
Justin Reeves of Lebanon, Missouri, The Choice
MU Extension and Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development sponsor the annual 4-H FilmFest.