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Volume 41 Issue 2 • May 12-25, 2011
now in our 41th season
In This Issue

A Rare Opportunity for Island Teens

by Sarah Teach

You remember being a teenager...sometimes you felt like you just couldn’t communicate with the world around you, so you strived to develop a voice. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have pinned down your outlet quickly. However, if you were like most adolescents, discovering the right expressive avenue was a painfully confusing process. This year’s Nantucket Film Festival brings an incredible opportunity for Nantucket’s teenagers to learn to speak out in a powerful yet personal
way. Jay Craven, award-winning media producer, independent film writer and director, impresario, and community arts activist, is holding a free screenwriting workshop for island teens on May 20 and 21, as part of the Festival’s Teen View program.

Jay Craven

Nantucket High School students interested in creative writing apply to the program in April, then cross their fingers until May when participants are chosen. Those selected undergo a crash course in storytelling through the art of film. A month before the Festival, the students spend a weekend with Craven working through an introductory screenwriting course. Over the following month, the students prepare to navigate the diverse, and sometimes daunting, process of filmmaking. One
week before the Festival, film production begins! Several small crews of students have just six days to rewrite, shoot, and edit their own short films using modern professional tools. The completed films are premiered on the closing night of the Festival, right before the final film.

When we ask Craven who should attend his workshop, “Students who like to write,” he replies simply. “This workshop creates circumstances for students to express a creative voice; to imagine and give shape to characters, situations, and stories.” Craven emphasizes the importance of drawing from one’s own ideas, experiences, relationships, and self. “The key is to be open to discovery and to respond to the specific dynamics of the moment. Participants should come ready to imagine, to
take chances with their ideas, and to create original characters rather than imitations of what they see in film and TV.”

Craven is not only a filmmaker extraordinaire; he is very much invested in excellent teaching. Since 1998, he has served as a film arts professor at MarlboroCollege in Vermont. “As I go along, I learn what works and what doesn't. I get a sense of how to respond to students more effectively.” Also, he has the ability to approach aspiring screenwriters on a very honest level. After all, he too has been through the process of learning film and making festival submissions. In fact, some of his own films, including Disappearances, have screened at our own Nantucket Film Festival.

The Workshop is held at the Nantucket Atheneum, and is hosted in association with Kingdom County
Productions, the Vermont-based company that Craven co-founded in 1991. The Teen Screenwriting Workshop has been an on-and-off part of the Festival since 2001, and this year marks the return of this fantastic opportunity.

Though the Nantucket Film Festival hasn’t been around much longer than most of its Teen View participants, it has already developed its own voice of expression. Nantucket seems to have that effect on those who spend time here. This magical island has been known to
produce spectacularly creative individuals. Perhaps the next Jay Craven—or the next Steven Spielberg—will emerge from the opportunities brought by the Nantucket Film Festival’s Teen View program!

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