And The Academy Goes To… Facets!

This summer, Facets Academy is packed full of film camps perfect for aspiring filmmakers, budding creatives, and young intellectuals.

Teaching kids, teens, and teachers how to creatively use film as a means for critical thought, Facets Academy is the summer destination for fun in front of the camera, behind the camera, to the left of the camera, and well, you get the picture.

From the very first Chicago Children’s International Film Festival in 1983, Facets has been a leader in youth-focused media-education programs. Since then, Facets has continued to grow and expand its reach as a space for education both in the classroom and in the cinema. That is where Facets Academy comes in. A hub for all of Facets media education programs, including the summer film camps and Film Innovation Lab, Facets Academy continues Facets’ mission of transforming lives through the power of film.

For its 23rd year in a row, Facets offered summer film camps for kids ages 7-14 in Chicago. Over the course of a week, campers learn about film history, production and criticism through screenings, discussions, and fun hands-on exercises. They are given the opportunity to experience the filmmaking process firsthand, working in small teams to create short films from storyboarding in pre-production to critical peer review thereafter. At the end of the week, a graduation ceremony is held where camp participants and their parents celebrate all the skills and knowledge the campers have acquired, which they can then apply at the theater, in the classroom, or at home.

“It’s amazing to see so many talented kids develop throughout the week, tackling difficult roles with great enthusiasm,” said Marty Jiffar, camp counselor. “The greatest feeling is seeing a kid come to me at the end of the week and tell me how excited they are to come back again next year, knowing that they are now more educated consumers of film.”

New this summer is the addition of specialized camps which focus on a specific interest in film, such as acting, animation and later this fall, horror! The aim of these new camps is to provide a deeper learning experience for campers, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in a particular subject, while still learning the fundamentals of the Facets Kids Film Camps. The specialized camps will also include special guest teachers, such as master animator-illustrator-artist George Berlin leading the special animation film camp.

“The specialty camps are all very different, with different perspectives and ideas being taught, but they are all for everybody,” said Kathleen Beckman, director of Facets Children+Youth Programs. “As long as you love films and want to know more about them, Facets film camps is for you.”

For older campers ages 10-15, Facets Academy presents its Pro-Path Film Camp, a two-week long intermediate course that enables campers the ability to further develop and hone their filmmaking skills for professional application. Designed for individuals who are interested in pursuing a potential career in film, the Pro-Path film camp advances one’s skill level and experience in screenwriting, directing and editing in order to create a much more complex short film.

“After usually making movies by myself at home, it’s very exciting to finally get to make movies with people who share the same passion for film as me,” said Em Murphy, Pro-Path Film camper. “It’s interesting seeing other people’s styles and approaches, I’m able to get new ideas and have new opportunities.”

In addition to its film camps, Facets Academy also offers its Film Innovation Lab, a professional development course that enables educators to utilize film as a tool for critical and creative learning in the classroom. Applicable for teachers of any grade and subject, the course will provide step-by-step instruction on how to integrate filmmaking, film analysis and other media literacy into subject-based curriculum. By identifying film as a platform for exploring history, politics, and pop-culture, teachers will be able to foster discussions with their students about different cultures, perspectives and issues.

“Film is an expression of culture; it is a window that helps us understand what our role is and how we’re all a part of a bigger picture,” said Larkyn Rhea, 4th grade teacher at Mark Sheridan Math & Science Academy. “Not only do you want the kids to develop an awareness of what’s going on around them, but you want them to develop their own voice and perspective and be a part of the conversation.”


Learn more about any of the Facets Academy programs as well as find information about how to enroll.

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