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Camp Citizen Jane teaches girls filmmaking

June 16, 2015

Samantha Harrison, a rising seventh grader at Smithton Middle School, signed up to participate in Camp Citizen Jane this year because she was interested in films.

She’s since discovered that there’s a lot more that goes into movie making than Hollywood magic.

“I’m learning just how much goes on behind the scenes, like how important light and sound are,” she said. “I now have a lot of respect for the process.”

Camp Citizen Jane, open to middle and high school students from Columbia Public Schools, introduces girls to filmmaking concepts and also allows them to experience it firsthand.

“We introduce them to media literacy and women in film, then talk about story choice and how to film it,” said Paula Elias, executive director of Citizen Jane. “Then they break into modules and learn about light, sound, camera and the importance of each of those roles.”

Students were then challenged to create a story that included conflict and resolution, prepare a storyboard, find a location and explore all of the jobs that happen on set. Yesterday, they filmed footage that is now being edited and prepared for a screening on Friday.

Gabby Guerra, a 10th grader at Battle High School, is interested in a career in lighting. She’s a Camp Citizen Jane veteran—she’s participated since she was in sixth grade. Yesterday, she was part of a team working on a short film in Windsor Auditorium about a cellist who has an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction on stage.

Across campus, Kaite Ritchie, a 10th grader at Rock Bridge, was working on the set of a film involving a mysterious pit. (She and teammates adjusted lighting to make the ball pit in the Student Union seem spookier.)

“Learning film is interesting,” she said. “And because I’m older than a lot of the girls here, I’ve gotten to develop leadership skills, as well.”

A camp for more advanced young filmmakers begins on Monday.

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