Cinema Dance… or shall I say Camp FAMU

Here’s a quick copy of the email I received from the professors at FAMU (the film school in Prague):

“Dear students,
Let me tell you about the up-coming Cinemadance workshop, which will be held from 10.-13.11.2011 out of Prague. Actually South Bohemia. The accommodation in heated cottages with linen, meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), equipment (camera, tripod and ntb with final cut) and transport tickets will be arranged. The exact place is a secret. What you need to take with you is a towel, enough money in cash – because the place is in forrest (there is no ATM), warm clothes because you gonna shoot in exteriors and in this time of year the temperatures are really low.
Departure: Nov 10,2011, 2:45 pm main train station by the Burger king
Arrival: Nov 13, 2011, app. 6:00 pm
Bellow is further description, what is the main goal of Cinemadance workshop.
“Cinemadance helps prepare beginning filmmakers to create short films within a structured, supportive “boot camp” environment that promotes creativity and maximizes collaboration.
The three-day workshop starts with a journey to a remote location, beginning in the evening with a dance: Turkish belly dancing, Irish Jig, African rock and contemporary disco. The idea is to break down barriers and help the international medley of student filmmakers get to know and be comfortable with each other. Dance embodies many of the goals of filmmaking: individual and group creative expression is achieved through collaboration within a structured ritual that embodies rhythm, pacing, emotional exuberance, and sensual expression through the poetry of motion.
The workshop continues the next morning as the student filmmakers are placed into culturally diverse groups of four and randomly given roles: writer, director, producer and director of photography. Groups choose their own name, and make a pledge to cooperate and work in the best interests of their projects.
Themes and short screenplays are then developed with periodic consultation. After scouting locations and casting actors from among their peers (and faculty) each group develops a strategy for producing their project, and spends the evening finalizing casting, stories, locations and storyboarding.
The films are then shot in one day, and edited in the evening and following morning. On the final afternoon of the workshop, the completed films are screened before the workshop members for review, comment and celebration.
CinemaDance creates a sense of empowerment among the filmmakers. By completion, all the challenges of the boot camp have been met. The filmmakers have completed their shorts as a direct result of the collaborative process. The members have developed mutual respect for each other’s contributions and a deeper understanding of the art and craft of filmmaking.””
… and at the end of the email, the professor wrote, “We will return late afternoon Sunday, November 13… but life will never be the same again…”



And so this weekend was the legendary cinema dance workshop aka Camp Famu. I call it that because the “undisclosed location” where we stayed reminded me of a summer camp. In the description, Cinema Dance is even called “bootcamp” (and indeed it was a filmmaker’s bootcamp: 48 hours to create a movie. almost impossible). But there were cabins, a dining hall, a beautiful lake and a gorgeous forest backdrop perfect for filming a scary movie (which is exactly what my group did)! I learned a lot this weekend and had a crazy rollercoaster of emotions ranging from happiness to stress to anger to staying up all night planning/editing to the point where my brain could no longer process any emotion. Zombie status. The main thing I learned, though, was that a group really needs to work together to make a good film and that it’s impossible to do overnight. Everyone’s films were pretty hilarious yet pretty terrible. It’s not that we’re bad filmmakers. Actually, it’s the opposite. It’s that making a film is an extremely long and difficult process, which I obviously knew before this workshop but now it’s all been put into perspective. This weekend was honestly the craziest I’ve had in Czech Republic and will never, ever forget it. Time actually slowed down for once and it was great to be in nature away from the city (and this class may have been the greatest way to earn 3 college credits known to man).

And so, instead of going on and on about cinema dance, I’ll just insert a copy of my short movie as soon as I get it downloaded to my computer. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it and not judge too harshly. Remember, this was made in two days starting from scratch (which includes getting into groups of four [I was producer/editor], planning the story, storyboarding, screenwriting, rewriting, rewriting, casting, shooting, acting, reshooting, sound-recording, editing, reediting, reediting, reediting, shooting some more, acting some more, recording more sounds, editing, reediting, reediting, etc: the whole process)! So, without further adieu, you’ll be able to find a copy of my short here within the week:


Na Shled,