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April 2015 Newsletter


Hello Everyone!

Spring is here and soon the 2014/2015 school year will be coming to a close, and yet again FFI succeeded in all of our endeavors. While it has been a very intense few months of production, we are so fortunate to have worked among such highly dedicated and talented student filmmakers. I can proudly say that it has been another amazing year for the short films produced through our award winning CINEMA program. Congrats to all of the filmmakers for a job well done!

CINEMA was produced in four schools last semester and currently we are working with an additional two schools this semester. No doubt it has been quite busy with our production schedules/deadlines within the schools, but we are constantly looking ahead! Currently we are planning for the annual summer film camp as well as programming for the next school year. Things will be changing, yet some things will remain the same with our programming format! Stay tuned for all of the important details!

Thanks so much for your wonderful and positive feedback towards our fabulous FFI crew and filmmakers! I personally thank you all for your continued support.


1st Semester Schools

John Ferguson Senior High School (JFSHS)
UNDERGROUND ARTISTS (drama) In the not so distant future where the Ministries totalitarian regime controls all, Edmund an extraordinary student, joins a mysterious group of his fellow students on a journey. He hopes they can all discover what has been missing from their lives.

West Highland Senior High School (WHSHS)
THE OUTCAST (drama) When Alex undergoes surgery, his life is shaken by a mysterious condition. As he comes back to reality, life as he knew it is thrown off balance. He doesn’t understand why he is being rejected by his peers. The flashbacks he suffers are like puzzle pieces, he has to try and put together. Once the puzzle is solved, Alex understands he has a lot of explaining to do.

Miami Beach Senior High School (MBSHS)
MATCH.KOM (romantic dramedy) The fairy-tale world is turned upside as a naive princess is kept away from the ‘evils’ of the Internet by her overbearing father, King Nathaniel. But with the help of a trusted servant, she soon meets her perfect prince online only to learn the perfect ‘prince’ may not be so perfect after all.

South Miami Senior HS (SMSHS)
SIMPLE STEPS (drama) The is an emotional and surreal story about a teenager named Nathan, who shapes his world through daydreams, all while trekking through the struggles of high school.

2nd Semester Schools

Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts (APMAYS)
A PART OF HER STORY (romantic dramedy) There is a boy named Jacob who can’t stop dreaming about Emily. His friends are worried about him. So he goes and gets help, but is he even a part of her story?

Hialeah Miami Lakes Senior High School (HMLHS)
CURIOSITY AT BEST (horror) A group of highschoolers decide to break into the school after hours to investigate random supernatural occurrences after the recent death of a student… but as the night draws to a close, they learn the occurrences may not be random after all.


FFI has been given the opportunity once again to bring our CINEMA participants to MDC North Campus, School of Entertainment & Design Technology (SEDT) on May 13th, 2015 for the 2014-2015 CINEMA Annual Screening and Awards event. This is a great way to bring all of the students together and have them meet each other and also have them watch the entire student films produced this year through FFI’s film program. In addition to the event, the students will be given a personal tour of the state of the art music & film studio on campus.


FFI’s 2014 summer camp film “S-Laughter” (It’s French) was screened at the DCIFF on 2/28! The films student director, Manny, attended the festival and was given the filmmaker VIP treatment for the weekend! Congrats to the cast/crew!

FFI’s film SILENCE will be screened at the 9th Annual All Kids Included Family Art Festival at the South Dade Cultural Center on May 2nd, 2015. The All Kids Included (AKI) Family Arts Festival is presented annually as a FREE innovative, multidisciplinary community arts festival for children and families with and without disabilities, and features a district-wide student art competition, inclusive student field trips to the festival, arts-infused teacher trainings, and a community festival day filled with interactive arts activities, live performances, give-aways, and community resources for parents. Each component of the All Kids Included Family Arts Festival is designed to be fully accessible, utilizing access technology and offering accommodations such as ASL interpretation, assistive listening, large print, Braille, sighted guides, audio description, Sensory-Friendly programs, and Shadow Interpreted Theatre.


The Florida Film Institute (FFI) is excited to announce a summer partnership for the fourth year with the Coral Gables Cinemateque (CGC). CINEMA, a film education summer camp will be held at the CGC’s Coral Gables Art Cinema, located at 260 Aragon Avenue in Coral Gables, from June 15 to July 23, 2015. Up to 25 high school students are invited to attend the workshops that meet on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00am to 1:00pm. There will be three field trips which will take place during the camp sessions (on selected Thursdays). The total camp fee is available at a reduced rate of $595.00 plus $50.00 non-refundable registration fee is required for the 6 weeks. FFI is able to offer this discounted fee to each participant because of the generosity of The Children’s Trust, The State of Florida and others. If not for their help the regular fee would be $1,509 per student. This year we are able to offer 4 full scholarships to students in need of financial assistance from the Miami Dade County Cultural Affairs Council, Summer Arts & Science Camps for Kids (SAS-C) grant. The scholarships are available for Dade County residents only. For more details on the scholarships and registration visit us online at


Two more CINEMA films from past years are now featured on our YouTube page – GONE (South Miami Senior HS) and THE JANITOR (Miami Beach Senior HS) – check them out:


Christian Lopez, Production Staff at HBO

The Florida Film Institute has definitely influenced my career path. Growing up I always knew I wanted to make movies, in fact I had wanted to be a Director. However, I did not realize until I entered the FFI program that this was my lifelong creative dream. Participating in the award winning CINEMA program (produced by FFI) helped solidify that filmmaking was the career I wanted to embark on. CINEMA influenced me greatly on so many levels. For example, I know there is much more to a crew than just a lead Director on a project. I have also learned that screenwriting, cinematography and sound design are all vital components of the filmmaking process.

Currently I like to Produce more than anything else. I’m working on two projects: the first is a HBO documentary that is executive produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The documentary follows young adults that have committed crimes are being sent to a boot camp in order to help them change their lives, in hopes for a second chance at life. The second project is a children’s show based out of New York titled Rosie’s Place. The show focuses on concepts that are written by children ages 5 to 11, bringing their storytelling to life using animation and puppets.

Getting involved in the film industry varies from person to person. I had the fortunate opportunity of participating in FFI as a 16 year old sophomore in high school. The Florida Film Institute was my gateway into the business. It all began by showing how dedicated and how passionate I was to the art of film. This garnered me the opportunity given by my classmates to direct a film for FFI. In that position I was able to work closely with the instructors and take in all the knowledge I could get during the multiple workshops. This, of course, helped with better understanding how the craft truly works. The best advice given to me through the CINEMA program was the importance of networking and how it is extremely important to always be prepared —because you never know when an amazing opportunity will arise! Many doors have opened for me as a result of FFI/CINEMA and now I can proudly call myself a working and paid Producer in the entertainment business. Thank you FFI!

Thank you for your continued support!

I want to send a special thanks to the wonderful organizations that provide us with the funding we need to operate, they are the real heart of our Institute. With their help we are able to create an increased educational awareness in hundreds of students a year, many of whom would never get the kind of life altering experience that our programs bring to them.

The Children’s Trust
Miami Dade College
Miami-Dade County
Florida Division of Cultural Affairs
Coral Gables Art Cinema
Miami-Dade County Public Schools


FFI is always seeking financial and in-kind support. In the event that you would like to donate dollars (or maybe just some sense!) please click HERE or contact the FFI office directly and speak with Stephanie.


Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, The Children’s Trust, is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County, Miami Dade College North Campus, School of Entertainment & Design Technology (SEDT), Garnet Productions, Coral Gables Art Cinema, VideoLab Solutions, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

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