Ann Arbor Film Festival: Getting kids interested in film

There is a whole bunch to see and do at the Ann Arbor Film Festival for adults, but what about getting kids, tweens, and teens involved – not just with watching movies but with actually creating film themselves? Local filmmakers Barbara Twist and Joel Rakowski have something planned for the younger ones that already idolize Spielberg.

Tist and Rakowski are putting on the Shoot, Scratch, and Stomp workshop on Saturday, March 19 during the festival, where kids ages 3-18 can drop by and learn about the process of developing film and how it can be used to create amazing images that digital movie making just can’t capture. 

“Film, hands down, is just an amazing thing,” said Twist. “That you can create moving images from a bunch of still images. It’s mind-blowing!”

Twist, who has always had a real passion for experimental filmmaking, says the Film Festival has always served as a huge inspiration for her, and after graduating from University of Michigan, she said, “I thought the only way I can even attempt to do what they’re doing (in the festival) is by playing around with the possibilities of film myself.”

All that time tinkering has yielded some interesting techniques, which Twist will share at the workshop. Participants will get a brief tutorial and background on Super 8 cameras, and then film their own images outside. Then, there will be a brief walkthrough on how film is developed (including new eco-friendly techniques), followed by play-time, where kids can use everything from glitter to markes on the film to see the effect during a screening. The ability to see their own images, and the effects their experimentation has on the images, is the kind of immediate realization that sparks an interest in the classic vehicle of film.

That may sound technical, but Twist insists kids will find this workshop very user-friendly and may even be seized by the potential of film as an art form, leading to a desire to experiment on their own time.

“Super 8 cartridges you really just pop in. That’s about as much as you need to know,” said Twist. “The whole point is to make this very friendly so you can go home with a parent and do it yourself.”


Shoot, Scratch, and Stomp: Let’s Play with Film will run on Saturday, March 19 from 2pm-5pm 

at Space 2435 on North Quad. 

The event is free, and all are welcome.