Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Filmmaking Workshop at BMFI

Did you know that Bryn Mawr Film Institute has its own summer program for teenagers?

BMFI's Summer Filmmaking Workshop, now in its second year, is presented in conjunction with The Big Picture Alliance, a non-profit youth development media center that has been teaching filmmaking to Philadelphia-area teenagers since 1994. Twelve students collaborate on a short film over the course of the six-week intensive program, in which they learn about acting, writing, lighting, cinematography, editing, and teamwork under the guidance of professional media-makers. At the end of the program, their hard work will pay off; the SFW partipants will join their family, friends, and community for a special premiere of their film at Bryn Mawr Film Institute on Friday, August 7, at 4:00pm, followed by a reception in the upstairs Multimedia Room.

The Workshop unites a diverse mix of high school juniors and seniors from public and private schools in both Lower Merion and downtown Philadelphia. Instructor Chris Fusco, a Senior Teacher at Big Picture Alliance, praises the collaboration between the students "fantastic." He adds, "BPA has serviced both city youth and suburban youth since our inception, but we have not had many opportunities for these two populations to collaborate in a meaningful way. By spending seven hours a day together, four days a week, the students [in the Summer Filmmaking Workshop] are learning and growing together as digital media artists. They're different visions are being realized in a work that has different perspectives on the teenage experience. It is a really unique environment."

In the first few weeks of the program, participants practiced various acting and production techniques and collaborated on a script. Then they put their production knowledge into practice while filming their comedic short film on locations around the Main Line. Now entering their fifth week, the students are finishing filming and will soon begin post-production, when they will edit their film and design marketing materials to prepare for their big screen premiere.

The short comedy features Dobbins High School's Isa Walker as a sixteen-year-old boy named Lucas who works as a clown at birthday parties for little kids. At the beginning of the film he finds out that the birthday party he has been hired to work is for a classmate... the girl of his dreams. Keep an eye out for a link to the finished film when it's complete or come to the FREE premiere event on Friday, August 7 at 4:00pm.

BMFI looks forward to seeing what these creative young filmmakers do next.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Last night, Bryn Mawr Film Institute welcomed more than 200 people to a sing-along screening of South Pacific. Attendees sang along with such Rodgers and Hammerstein favorites as "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Bali H'ai" as they watched the romance unfold between a young Navy nurse from Arkansas and a French plantation owner during World War II. Directed by Joshua Logan, the 1958 film version of the Broadway hit stars Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi.

Those who came in costume received free popcorn! Some of our favorite costumes and props:

Ginny Duerr (left) holds an original playbill from the 1949 stage production, passed down from her parents, and wears her grandpa’s navy hat. She's joined by Betty Marmon (center) and her daughter Lizzy.

Alice Farber (left) (practicing "washing that man right out of her hair"), is joined by Sarah Sobel, who wears a vintage recording of the stage production around her neck. Both women were excited about BMFI's Sing Along: Alice, a former singer, said that she "knew every song in every musical before the 1970s," and Sarah has a soft spot for South Pacific - it was one of the first Broadway plays that she ever saw.

Billy Ornbuch and her husband Donald are ready for the islands... and South Pacific!
If you enjoyed our Sing Along South Pacific, find out more about our other special events this summer at And don't worry, if you missed South Pacific, there will be another sing-along screening this fall!