Ever since watching “Jurassic Park” at the age of eight, Roberto Beltre knew he wanted to be involved in film as a screenwriter.
The Park Slope resident has pursued his interested through his neighborhood program Reel Works, as well as shooting comedic fare with his friends around Park Slope and Sunset Park. And now, the 17−year−old junior at Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School (500 19th St.) has been getting a behind the−scenes look at the filmmaking process as a Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) Tribeca Film Fellow.
Through the nonprofit arts organization’s fellowship program, Beltre and 20 other New York City high school−aged students, including eight Brooklynites, are getting an all−access look at the Tribeca Film Festival, the post−9⁄11 film festival created to help spur economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan which ended May 3, through a series of screenings, panels, workshops, creative filmmaking exercises and special events.
Some of these events include meeting screenwriter David Koepp (who, coincidentally enough for Beltre, was one of the screenwriters behind “Jurassic Park”) and Tribeca Film Festival co−founder Jane Rosenthal, a college fair focused on studying film, creating their own short group film, “Cityscapes,” that depicts all five boroughs of New York City through the eyes of its young filmmakers, and, of course, getting access to the international film festival’s screenings.
“I’m excited for the film festival,” said Sushana Duvreil of Midwood, a 17−year−old senior attending Midwood High School (2839 Bedford Ave.), who in particular is excited to see Spike Lee’s documentary “Kobe Doin’ Work,” a day in the life of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant.
As part of the Tribeca Downtown Community TV, Duvriel has had experience making documentaries herself, and applied to the fellowship as a way to “broaden my horizons.”
“I get so much inspiration from the people here,” said Duvriel, who plans on studying film at Hunter College in the fall.
To be a fellow, the teenagers have already started on their portfolio, making films or writing scripts and go through a somewhat arduous process of interviews and essay−writing for the five−week opportunity. Sofiya Romendik, a 16−year−old Kings Highway resident attending Manhattan Free School in the East Village, got a start in filmmaking through the youth media program Global Action Project, shooting a documentary on homelessness in the city called “Long Way Home,” screening at the Tribeca Film Festival on May 1.
“I tried a lot of things in art, but I never really got that in depth into anything except film,” said Romendik. “It’s creative, and has the potential to impact people, and it does that.”
Other Brooklynites involved in the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca Film Fellowship program are Jasmine Britton, 16, of Bedford−Stuyvesant, who attends Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School (300 Willoughby Ave.); Derek Garcia, 17, of Park Slope; Riaebia Robinson, 17, of Bed−Stuy, who attends Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School; Raymons Romano, 19, of Bushwick; and Natalie Setoute, 17, of East New York, who attends Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers in Lower Manhattan.
“They’re really curious, really engaged,” said Lisa Lucas, director of youth programs for TFI, of this year’s crop of students. “When you take someone who’s going on 18 years old and put them in this festival, and here’s an opportunity to do all these things and meet all these people, it’s a sing or swim moment. I think this group has proven that they don’t like to sink, they like to swim.”
For more information about TFI’s programs, including its Tribeca Film Fellows, visit http:⁄⁄www.tribecafilminstitute.org⁄. For more information on the Tribeca Film Festival, visit http:⁄⁄www.tribecafilm.com⁄festival.
©2009 Community News Group
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