Sketchbook: Student Filmmakers Make It Big

In 2020, students from Lakewood took first place at the Kids International Film Festival in California for Best Narrative for ages 13 – 17, for their production of “The Other Side of the Line.”

Read the script:

[David] The Lakewood Young Filmmakers Academy was started in 2017, by filmmaker, Eric Slenderman, and his wife, Hortensia. Eric is an Emmy nominated film and television producer. The Academy is like a community center for fledgling filmmakers. Lindsey O'Keefe has attended the school from the start.

- I basically fell in love with it from the start. Like, the idea of putting my thoughts, you know, on-screen, and just showing it in a different way. I really gravitated towards that.

[David] The Academy is housed in a three-story mixed-use office building on Madison Avenue. The program is for kids and teens ages 10 through 17. The instructors are all veterans of the film industry.

- So we do have a lot of instructors and also guests, guest speakers, guest instructors, depending on what we may need for that day.

[Lindsey] You basically get to specialize in a certain thing you love the most. For example, there's a screenwriting class, acting class, editing class.

- My favorite part would probably be the fact that we can go through and do many different things. We're not just stuck to, oh, you can only do a writing portion, or, oh, you can only do a camera. You can only camera operate, or you can only do boom operations.

[David] All of the equipment needed to shoot, edit, and produce a film is onsite.

- We have, you know, tripods, and dollies, and JIPS. We have three editing bays. So they have access to, you know, pretty much everything they could need to make a movie.

[David] After four years, the efforts of the Lakewood Young Filmmakers Academy are paying off. Student-produced films are being accepted into film festivals across the country. In 2020, a student-led film took home a first-place award at the Kids International Film Festival in California, for the production of The Other Side Of The Line.

- I was part of the writing team, actually, one of the two head writers. And then I was script supervisor on the side, and also did a little bit of directing. We were just super excited, super in awe, and also very impressed, and very proud.

[David] While not every student at the Lakewood Young Filmmakers Academy may go on to study film or get into the film business, every student who completes the course receives the red carpet treatment.

- We really make the kids feel like celebrities, and I think that's the reward. And it's not just about them feeling like they're famous. I think when they get there, it hits them of what they accomplished, and that this whole event is for them, and they earned it, and that they deserve it.

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