Skip to main content


August 2006 Newsletter


Since its inception in 1992, the Florida Film Institute has mentored over 4,200 middle and high school students in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. FFI offers three different workshops experiences: the MDCPS in-school program titled, Cinematographers in Education and Media Arts (CINEMA) program, The Miami Children¹s Museum Film School and our popular Crafting Scenes Creating Actions, intensive Script Writing Workshop.

As you might imagine, providing all these programs makes for some very busy times. Days, weeks, months, fly by sometimes in such a blur, that it¹s actually not uncommon for me to look up one day and see that the whole season is over. Personally, I find so much satisfaction in what the Institute does that all those hours I put in just seem to melt away. Seeing the results; the inspired students, the enormous challenges overcome, the joy in accomplishment, even the awards that have been won, just fills me with such a sense of triumph, that words fail me.

But FFI is much more than just me, it¹s our exceptional Instructors, our tireless Board Members, the School Teachers who donate their extra time, the organizations that provide us with the funding we need to operate, and the superb volunteers who help get the projects completed, they are the real heart of the Institute.

Ok, so now roll up your sleeves and let¹s get down to it.

FFI & MTV’s Documentary on HIV

Earlier this year, The Florida Film Institute was approached by MTV and asked to participate in its 25 year “AIDS” Anniversary Program Documentary on HIV. FFI arranged for four talented new South Florida filmmakers to direct and produce a short film on the subject using young people who have had experiences with AIDS as the main story-telling vehicle. This extremely accomplished and compelling production was then submitted to MTV for possible inclusion into their documentary. The filmmakers who worked on the project are: David Martinez-Rivera & Maria Vilchez – Directors, Andres Guaita – 2nd Director, and Ricardo Romo – Cameraman.

FFI is proud to announce that their hard work has paid off. It was confirmed that our submission was the only one from Florida that was chosen to be included as content in the “thinkHIV: This is Me.” documentary. Of our project subject, Quintara is prominently featured in the show. The special will air on MTV, Friday, August 18, 2006 at 7:00pm. Don’t miss it!

Our Congratulations to all involved, and we look forward to more fine work from the Quartet.

A New PR Firm Joins The FFI Family…

The Conroy Martinez Group

As every organization needs a good public relations firm to get the word out on its newsworthy items, so does the FFI. We are happy to announce that The Conroy Martinez Group picked up our gauntlet and has come aboard as our new PR Firm.

The Conroy Martinez Group is a bilingual, full-service public relations and marketing firm established in 1990. The agency follows the philosophy of providing personal service and counsel – and most importantly – proven results to clients representing a variety of industries, including entertainment, business, travel and tourism, health care, banking, retail and real estate.

We’re honored to have them and welcome them to the FFI family.

FFI Students Films Win Awards

What a great year for the students who made our films this past year. Up against stiff competition from schools all over the State, our students came up on top by winning a bunch of well-deserved awards. Must notably, “Unauthorized” which won two awards at the MCM Film Festival; Best Cinematography, Best Female Actor and “The Book” won Best Middle School.

We are also expecting recognition for our most recent crop of student films. They just seem to be getting better every year. The films we believe will bring home some honors are:

“Ghost in the Shell” ­ from our Focus After- School Program at Moore Park Learning Center
“Brother¹s Keeper” ­ Turner Technical HS
“A New Love” ­ Miami Northwestern HS
“Twisted Fate” ­ Robert Morgan HS

Congratulations and good luck to all. You make us Proud.

FFI adds 4 New Instructors to its Roster

As you must know, The Florida Film Institute¹s instructors are comprised of local and national film industry professionals, who teach classes for us in high schools and at weekend workshops. This combination has proven to be the best way for us to reach students and adults who have a desire to learn about all aspects of the film industry. However, finding talented and inspiring Instructors is not the easiest task in the World. So it is with great delight that we welcome the following 4 gifted new Instructors into our ranks:

Writer / Director
Mr. Rosenberg has been an independent filmmaker, artist and curator for two decades. His work focuses on such topics as gender and sexuality, AIDS, the workplace, and Latino/a issues. He received an Emmy Award for Best Historical program in 1986, and his work has been supported by such organizations as the New York State Council on the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Ford Foundation, and the State of Florida.

Producer, Director & Actor
Tavares began acting at age 15. He has appeared in such TV shows as “The Awakening”, “Girlfriends”, “Seventh Heaven”, “Boston Public”, and “E.R.”. Over the years, Tavares has produced over 20 TV commercials, 10 theatrical plays and 6 TV shows. In 2002, Tavares was appointed to sit on the Miami Dade Film and Entertainment Advisory Board.

Producer, Director, Writer & Photographer
Franceasca is a native Miamian and has had successful gallery exhibits of her fine art photographic work on both coasts. She is the co-produced MVC¹04 (Music Video Challenge) and Collaboration 7ŠA Short Film Contest. She has also written, directed, and produced three short films; Out of Sync, The Theater, and Wicked Garden.

Writer, Photographer, Director & Musician
Pablo was born in Caracas, Venezuela; but was schooled in the arts here in Miami. He is the founder of The Ars Nova Revolution, an organization dedicated to the use of filmmaking as a tool for social transformation and cultural education. Pablo has directed numerous documentaries, commercials, and music videos.

“Rules of Engagement” a Note from Alyn Darnay…

I am constantly asked how I could possibly get a good script or performance out of the kids we teach. The real question is how could I not?

You see most people think the kids have a very short attention span. The truth is just the opposite; I find our students incredibly talented and possessive of infinite patience for subjects that interest them. They take in knowledge like a sponge. All you need to do is Engage them, and then, their imaginations take over. All you need to do is Engage them. Engage them. Engage…them.

Ok, so picture it. There I am in a classroom, this stranger in their midst, all they see is another, well, teacher. Older generation, a little different, not quite what they are used to seeing in a teacher, but definitely an authority figure.

The classroom teacher introduces me. Tells them I’m this great filmmaker here to show them how to make a movie and turns the class over to me…to Engage them I assume.

Thirty young faces are now staring at me, challenging me. To what? Engage them of course.

So I engage them.

I stand there, for a full minute, not talking, just looking at them. Or, I’ll get up on a chair and look down at them for a minute. Then I’ll ask them who wants to go home? (Good answers to this one) Or, I’ll ask them if they’ve ever seen a film they thought they could do better? (They all have) Or, I’ll ask them what they think I’m doing on the chair? (They have Interesting Concepts for this one). They usually laugh. Ha, Engaged! Got’em.

Now we begin. I teach, they learn and in turn, they teach me! Because the truth is, now I am Engaged…by Them.


We want to hear from you! Please check out FFI’s Facebook Page and stay updated with what is new and upcoming with our award winning film programs. But also, while you are there we encourage you to start posting some of your own thoughts and ideas about filmmaking- perhaps, what is your favorite film and why? or what programs you would like FFI to consider producing in the future? It would be great to get a dialogue going between our FB page and our many fans!

Watch FFI on “You Tube”

You can now view the wonderful films made by our students online anytime you want. As a matter of fact we encourage it. The films are actually an ongoing anthology of the attitudes of the young people who make them, acting as a mirror of their environment, concerns and problems. Every film is compelling in its own way and some have won awards at film festivals across the country.

You’ll find us at:
See you there!


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.

FFI Opt-In Form Logo

Join Our Email List!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

Thanks for subscribing to our list!

FFI Opt-In Form Logo

Join Our Email List!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

Thanks for subscribing to our list!