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August 2010 Newsletter

A Message From Stephanie Martino


I’m thrilled to say that since its inception in 1992, the Florida Film Institute has mentored over 5,140, middle and high school students in Miami-Dade County, many of who have gone on to successful careers within the film business.

As the current season has draw to a close and I look back at how busy we’ve been I can’t help but feel proud of the things we’ve been able to accomplish. Days, weeks, months, flew by in such a blur, that it actually feels as though we just started yesterday.

It’s been a really enormous feat creating and executing the multitude of programs we provide and it requires the dedicated participation of our very talented staff of instructors and coordinators, to whom I am eternally grateful.

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, for 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.

And to you our supporters, I offer a continuing heartfelt thank you on behalf of everyone here at FFI and all those students who appreciate your warmhearted attention.

We are gearing up for our next season, visit us on FB for weekly updates. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

School Accomplishments . . .

Each school in our program completed their own short movie. This year we believe they’ve exceeded all expectations and created a series of exceptional films. The following is a list and description of these films soon to be seen at film festivals around the country.

Miami Beach Senior High School – Teacher: Mrs. Cunningham
This film is a comedy about the adventures and mysteries of a character named “Chickenman.” He tries to figure out the meaning of life in an incredible journey all while meeting some interesting people along the way.

Miami Lakes Educational Center – Teacher: Mr. Veres

This film is about the trial and tribulations of high school friendship, love and jealousy. A new student arrives to the school and creates a world of trouble for a fellow classmate.

John Ferguson Senior High School – Teacher: Mr. Moreno

An intricate tale of deceit and ambition, “The Big Break” gracefully leads viewers through the mist of its overwhelming performances to an inexplicably cryptic climax. The breathtaking drama and tenebrous plot propose to viewers the entrapment of doubt at what one might do to get their Big Break.

Hialeah Miami Lakes High School – Teacher: Mr. Ruiz

The film matches a cunning detective and his less than cunning sidekick against an escaped convict who was put away by the lead detective.

Coral Gables Senior High School – Teacher: Ms. Quevedo

Bernard, a 25-year old janitor has a chance to change his life around.

Ronald Reagan Senior High School – Teacher: Mr. Muniz

David Omar a young man that finds himself in a tough predicament in trying to balance personal satisfaction and a good state of mind.


The Florida Film Institute is excited to announce a summer partnership with Miami-Dade Parks and their GEM (Girls Empowerment and Mentoring) arts program at Women’s Park. FFI has been producing an all girls documentary film program which runs three days a week from June 28th – August 6th as part of the GEM summer camp. The girls will be producing documentaries based on accomplished women leaders in the local community. The camp will cover the basics of documentary filmmaking which includes: researching the women, writing the story, filming each interview and editing the footage to create a final project.

This unique and educational program will be taught by two amazing FFI instructors, Carl Kesser and Arturo Sande. Carl Kesser is an award winning filmmaker who has worked in the film industry in Miami for the past 44 years. His documentary, “Miami, The Magic City,” has been running on TV for the past 28 years winning him 3 Emmy’s for that project. He recently came back from Africa working for WWF in environment projects. Arturo Sande is a film professional who works for the Florida Film Institute and The Center of Cinematography, Arts and Television. His credits include “Nickelodeon’s Creative Summit” and “VH1’s Behind the Music,” among others.

The film “Ancestral Voices” will screen at the Women’s Park, located at 10251 W. Flagler St. in Miami. For more information about the park and this program, contact Lisa Fernandez at 305.480.1717.


Our Saturday film program was extremely successful. Based on our CINEMA model, the film participants engaged in workshops that featured an introduction into film producing and screen writing. The program also incorporated numerous production sessions that included auditioning, assigning crew, camera positioning and lighting. As part of the 20-week workshops, participants had the opportunity to shoot a short film entitled “LITTLE CERAMIC SHOP OF HORRORS” was presented it at a screening in early June.


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.

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