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April 2021 Newsletter


Hope everyone is staying safe and remaining healthy as we navigate ourselves through a global pandemic! It has been a trying time for many and I’m hopeful that the light at the end of the tunnel is slowly beginning to shine. And speaking of shine, our CINEMA students are some of the brightest in Miami-Dade County– they are true stars in the making! Even though this school year has been quite challenging and, at times, extremely stressful – these high school teens stayed attentive and are full of energy and immense talent. Their efforts shown during an unusual (and unexpected) kind of year will be applauded for years to come!

The month of May is almost here and our 2020-2021 school year will be coming to a close in less than two months from now. While all of our CINEMA sites have remained online since the beginning of the school year, you would never know that these students have not collaborated in a classroom together. They have proven the known truth that there is no “I” in TEAM. These exceptional students have been given the tools to think outside of the norm and work visionarily within an online production team as well as completely solo. Becoming mobile creators and learning the art of filmmaking has been eye-opening for a plethora of our students! This kind of progressive filmmaking has demonstrated that young filmmakers are readily able to produce at home with only a computer and smartphone…. the new technology has been fascinating to explore!

This has been an incomparable year for our award-winning programming and the best is yet to come, including our upcoming 2021 summer film camp which is being offered as in-person or virtual @ CGAC. FFI’s program schedule has been nonstop and there has been a lot of unbelievable news within the organization that we are excited to share with all of you- please see below for much more info. But first, I would like to express my appreciation and respect for the FFI staff who have done a phenomenal job over the past 14 months. They are the greatest team members to work with and have done their best to implement new educational strategies within the CINEMA program. Our students look forward to showing up at each online class to amplify their creative and technical knowledge.

It will be astounding to see all of the projects online during our virtual CINEMA screening and awards show, scheduled for the end of May! From pre-production development to post production editing these teens have captivated my staff and I. In addition, there has been an abundant amount of justified recognition for FFI’s student casts/crews as our prior films continue to be submitted and accepted into a heap of local, national and international film festivals. We foresee that the projects produced this year will still be thriving this time next year on the film fest circuit!

I profoundly believe that much better and more enjoyable times are not far ahead. And with that being said….I genuinely thank you all for your time reading this and for your endless & loyal support!

2020-2021 CINEMA – After School CINEMA Program and Dual Enrollment Update

There are a multitude of students participating in the Dual Enrollment program that is being offered in partnership with Miami Dade College, North Campus. Students who complete the program for one or both semesters will earn college credit for their participation! It’s a terrific opportunity for high school students interested in exploring filmmaking as a creative path into their chosen careers!

1st Semester
Students from the 3 CINEMA sites- (Alonzo and Tracey Mourning SHS, John A. Ferguson SHS and Westland Hialeah SHS) learned about new filmmaking apps used for all types of productions. These include: LumaFusion, FilmicPro, Shot Designer and Each site created mini film projects. Students from JFSHS participated in the Dual Enrollment program (Course: Visual Communications).

2nd Semester
The same three schools listed above have been extremely busy since classes resumed after the holiday break, in early January. In addition, students from Miami Lakes Educational Center, Coral Reef SHS and Felix Varela SHS joined the after school program when we opened up our virtual doors to other young filmmakers who attend MDCPS. The material for this component of CINEMA included intro to the camera, editing process, visual composition, brainstorming/creative concepts and directing. The projects that were created earlier in the new year are the Haiku videos. Currently the students are in post production for their short narrative films. The Dual Enrollment program for this semester had students from ATMSHS (Course: Visual Communications) and JFSHS (Course: Film 2-Selected Studies).

@ 10am – 12noon (via YouTube link for the screening) and 12 – 1pm (via ZOOM for the live awards show).

All are welcome to join us online for our FREE premiere end of the year event. Please stay tuned for the YouTube/ZOOM links. We will be sending out an e-vite and will also post the info on our social media sites. This is always a fun celebration for our “fans” and our students as everyone sees the hard work that was completed this past school year. The projects are judged by a panel of industry pros and awards will be presented in the technical and creative categories.

It's Showtime

Lights, Camera…. Summer FFI TEEN FILM CAMP JUNE 21st – JULY 30th, 2021!  IN-PERSON or VIRTUAL OPTION!!!

Film Camp

6 week workshop: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am- 1pm @ Coral Gables Art Cinema (or ZOOM platform for virtual students). All CDC guidelines will be strictly followed. There are many scholarships available for high school students (ages 13-18) that qualify. Space is limited!

The fee for the 2021 Summer Film Camp is $725 plus a $50 reg. fee – total of $775.
The price is the same for either option (in-person or virtual).

AND – at no additional cost FFI will be providing high end filmmaking software to each student that can be downloaded – and they will have permanent access to these online tools even after the camp program is over.

Interested students need to fill out a required registration form and then a phone interview will be set up with the parent and/or student.

For more info and to register online click the buttons below or call our office at 305-891-3456 for additional info!

FFI Summer Film Camp Registration
FFI Summer Film Program


REALITY CHECK, screened @ MsFF in November @ The Miami Beach Botanical Garden
South Florida Short Film Fest

REALITY CHECK won the top award in the kids category in the Quarantini Monthly Film Festival! This film was created by our camp students while they were safe in their own homes using film equipment and high tech filmmaking apps. They became “mobile creators” within a 6 week timeframe.

The Quarantini Monthly Film Festival

The Quarantini Monthly Film Festvial

NEXT OF KIN and SHE’S A RAINBOW were official selections and winners of the BEST SHORTS COMPETITION!

Best Shorts Competition

Best Shorts Competition

SHE’S A RAINBOW made the official selection list of the High School Film Competition at the 2021 DC Independent Film Festival!

D.C. Independent Film Forum


SHE’S A RAINBOW and REALITY CHECK were chosen as official selections @ the Toronto Independent Festival of CIFT!

Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift

Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift

NEXT OF KIN (award winner!) and REALITY CHECK were chosen as official selections for PHOENIX SHORTS, a monthly and yearly festival with online and physical screenings.

Phoenix Shorts

Award Winner Phoenix Shorts

NEXT OF KIN and REALITY CHECK were chosen as official selections for San Francisco Indie Short Festival!

San Francisco Indie Short Festival

San Francisco Indie Short Festival

REALITY CHECK was an official selection and finalist in the Vancouver Independent Film Festival!

Vancouver Independent Festival

Vancouver Independent Film Festival

SHE’S A RAINBOW and REALITY CHECK are official selections for the Fantastic Festival.

Fantastic Festival

Fantastic Festival of Los Angeles

REALITY CHECK and SHE’S A RAINBOW were chosen as official selections and finalists for The Paris International Short Festival!

Paris International Short Festival

Paris International Short Festival

REALITY CHECK and SHE’S A RAINBOW were chosen as official selections and semi-finalists for The Florida Shorts Film Festival!

Florida Shorts


Rayquan Blake

Rayquan Blake, Intern

My name is Rayquan Blake, and I consider myself to be an overall creative. Within the film industry, I enjoy screenwriting and directing, which I believe are my two strongest areas. During my time at the Florida Film Institute, I was able to exercise my talent as an aspiring screenwriter and director, garnering two best screenplay awards for Laura and Heart Strings.


Follow FFI on our INSTAGRAM + FACEBOOK pages to check out some awesome behind the scenes production pics:

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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 By

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, 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), Coral Gables Art Cinema, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and

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