A first-person account of the International Film Institute of New York’s Five-Week Summer Film Intensive
We can spend a lot of time daydreaming and talking about future plans, but taking action is what will change our lives. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to press pause on life and pursue your interest in film, we welcome you to the International Film Institute of New York. While directors have taken various paths to success (Ava DuVernay, Mira Nair, Wes Anderson to name a few), they have all gone on record about how important it is to learn and absorb as much as possible to get started in filmmaking. IFI offers intensive professional training in a classroom setting to introduce students to the world of moviemaking. Our short term five-week program revolves around STORYTELLING, which is the ability to properly translate the written page onto the screen. Every student will graduate with a final film and the foundational skills necessary to continue working towards a life in film. Instead of us telling you about the experience at IFI, we decided to have an alumna share her thoughts.
Meet Zena from Cairo, Egypt who was a 2016 Summer Filmmaking Intensive student. Zena joined us at Sarah Lawrence College in June for five weeks of screenwriting, directing, lighting, camera tech, casting, editing and production courses.
Why did you choose IFI? I’m still in high school in Egypt, but I sought out a true filmmaking experience to explore the parts that I found most interesting. I wanted to take my first film course with IFI to learn everything about filmmaking – how it works from writing a screenplay to production and screenings.
What did you work on at IFI? I wrote my first-ever screenplay, and it was such a cool experience. It is about a guy who is Schizophrenic and makes clay figures. He believes they are real people, but they’re not.
How was your experience making your first film? It was exciting. I was excited and anxious about the screening of my first film. We worked on it for a long time, so it was fun to share it with other people and see/hear their reactions.
What was the most difficult part of filmmaking for you? I kept looking over my footage. I’m a perfectionist, and I always want to do better. But, the thing is that most people don’t see the mistakes that you do in your own work. So, the most difficult part of filmmaking for me was seeing my mistakes, knowing what I would improve next time, and accepting it. In the end, I put together the footage that would be the best for my first film.
To see Zena’s and other films from the 2016 Summer Filmmaking Intensive click here.