According to the Motion Picture Association, the motion picture and television industry is responsible for more than 14,650 jobs and for providing more than $820,000,000 in wages in Missouri alone. Thanks to Cinema St. Louis (CSL), an Arts and Education Council grantee and Centene Center for the Arts tenant, local students are gaining hands-on experience in the growing industry through filmmaking camps.

Cinema St. Louis, in conjunction with the St. Louis Public Library and University City Library, offers free filmmaking camps for students (ages 8-18) that teach basic filmmaking principles and take participants through the entire production process, from a film’s inception to its completion. Between 2015-2019, the animation, documentary, and live-action camps have been at full capacity with a waitlist.

Last year, students in the bi-state area youth worked in groups to gain experience in animation, documentary, green screen, live action, and stop motion filmmaking. Cinema St. Louis co-presented 90 days of camps reaching upwards of 100 area youth from a variety of backgrounds across the Greater St. Louis area. All camps are presented in collaboration with Webster University and Lindenwood University.

“By demonstrating the power of storytelling through film, our camps boost creativity, and empower future generations of potential filmmakers,” said Brian Spath, Cinema St. Louis operations supervisor, who oversees the camps.

In 2020, CSL began offering filmmaking day camps for local groups like Girl Scouts and LifeBridge Partnership, a nonprofit that empowers people with disabilities to develop skills for independence and to actively participate in the community. This week, LifeBridge students and chaperones participated in the stop-motion filmmaking course at the Centene Center for the Arts. Students partnered with others to use a stop-motion app on supplied iPads to film LEGOs.

The Cinema St. Louis filmmaking camps are designed for youth with little or no experience in making films. Because a variety of technologies are used in the film-production process, the camps combine science, technology, engineering and mathematics elements with the artistic expression required to make a film, bringing the concept of STEAM to life.

In the past, kids with big imaginations had only art supplies to express their ideas, but with today’s technology they are able to turn their thoughts into reality through film. CSL’s filmmaking camps offer youth a robust arts and technology program with multiple lifelong benefits. The nature of the filmmaking process promotes collaboration with fellow campers and teaches time management in order to meet deadlines. Campers must clearly communicate in a group setting, which hones their ability to both listen and articulate ideas and they also publicly present their completed short films.

Learn more about Cinema St. Louis filmmaking camps at cinemastlouis.org/filmmaking-camps.

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