The Court 13 School
The Court 13 Acting/Moviemaking School for Young People puts the Court’s community focus into practice by teaching kids who live in our neighborhoods how to translate their own stories into real performances and fun, compelling films.
The idea behind the School was borne of Benh’s experience at Grace Church School, where the length of their after school program with third grade kids was spent conceiving and filming a short film that they starred in (“I Get Wet”). Though Benh and his friend Kabir taught the class and edited the final film, the basic story ideas came straight from the kids themselves. What resulted was a movie that humorously captures a common and resonant emotional struggle for a kid, but with a fittingly youthful catharsis at the end.
In its most recent incarnation, the Acting/Moviemaking School has combined the opportunity for area kids to make movies themselves with a chance to be in Court 13′s own next big thing. An extensive audition process in the spring yielded us 19 talented, dynamic young performers between the ages of 7 and 12 who, besides having won a place in the cast of our upcoming feature “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” were also enrolled in weekly acting and moviemaking classes. The idea was to familiarize them with filmmaking and film acting not only for their own sake, but to prepare them for the demands of the production. The end of the class would yield a short film that they could call their own.
The first seven weeks were spent doing a number of acting exercises and games–everything as basic as “Steal the Bacon” to practicing multiple takes and negotiating different objectives. Then, a week was spent brainstorming on the subject of each class’s film, with the surrounding location (a middle school building abandoned after Katrina and converted into art studios) as their inspiration. After the script was fleshed out, the last four weeks were spent putting these stories in front of the camera. The three films from the 2009 classes can be found below.
The Tuesday class movie, “Scaredy Cat Superheroes,” is a portrait of a young girl trying to fit in at her new school, despite being neither a superhero, or cruel.
Starring: Amari, Jonshel, Lauren, Nathan, Nyla, and Theodore.
The Wednesday class movie, “Detention = Doom,” is a sort-of ghost story that takes place in the physical and psychological destination of three kids after they act up at school.
Starring: Antonio, Bryonna, Eddie, Nicholas, Ryan, and Terielle.
The Thursday class movie, “The Big Hide-and-Go-Seek,” is a who-dun-it about the Longest Game of Hide and Go Seek Ever told in flashback through the selective memories of guests on a popular kids talk show.
Starring: Alexis, Kenneth, Larielle, Margot, Saida, Tione, and Wynton.
Let us know what you think of the films and/or the School program by visiting our “TELL US WHAT YOU THINK” page. Stay tuned for the next semester of the Court 13 Acting/Moviemaking School for Young People.
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