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September 2006 Newsletter


As you might imagine, the FFI is composed of many people doing many things on its behalf. They are all dedicated to the values and vision of the Institute; teaching the art, business and science of filmmaking, and fostering the desire to explore and participate in the creative process of cinema.

Joining our cadre of creative souls are our two new Board members and we’d like to welcome them aboard, and introduce them to you. They are remarkable and dedicated women, and I think you should know them.

Professor Of Early Childhood Education
Miami Dade College – Kendall Campus

Professor Obregon has been nationally recognized for her exceptional abilities as an educator in all phases of early childhood education. She is also highly respected for her creative abilities in the areas of educational administration, communications, and project development.

Having studied at several of the best Universities in the world; Loyola University in Chicago, the Universite La Sorbonne in Paris, and the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia, her approach to the science of educating is unique, and her classes always fill up fast.


Since establishing Garnet Productions, Ms. Massanet has been showing off the best parts of Miami as a Field Producer for prime time and cable networks. While at the same time making sure that the independent spirit with which Garnet Productions was founded is fed yearly by producing projects that showcase her talents as a writer, director, and producer.

Ms. Massanet has worked as an independent contractor for the following companies: MTV, VH-1, MTV Latino, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., Dreamworks, Columbia Pictures, Telemundo, Univision, CBS Productions, and Bob Bain Productions. Her enthusiasm is met with appreciation in the South Florida community where entertainment professionals are looking to secure reliable colleagues and business associates.

Our Miami Children’s Museum
Film School XI Begins In October…

The FFI, in conjunction with the Miami Children’s Museum, has been running its Film School for 11 years. This exciting and challenging filmmaking program is FREE to students from middle through high school and always attracts great creative young minds from all over South Florida.

Beginning in October with a 12 session Film School, it is then followed by the Miami Children’s Museum Annual Film Festival open to all school aged students, and wrapping up in the summer with free screenings of the award winning films throughout the community.

Each workshop will have an in-depth look at the following topics: script writing, location shooting, cinematography, acting on screen, lighting, directing, editing, sound, wardrobe, makeup and marketing. In addition to the aesthetic and technical basics of the discipline, the workshops address the business environment of the motion picture industry in order to realistically prepare the students for a career. At the conclusion of the workshop series, the students will work as a team to produce a five to ten minute short film.


So Mark Your Student’s Calendar!

Film School XI
Begins: Saturday, October 7, 2006 – February 2007
12 Saturdays (12 workshops), 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
You Must Attend the Oct 7th workshop audition to be considered for entry into the program.

FFI’s Professional Scriptwriting Workshop returns in October…

Crafting Scenes…Creating Actions our intensive Script Writing Workshop will be held once a week for (4) consecutive weeks (dates TBA). This acclaimed workshop conducted by award-winning writer Alyn Darnay, has been instrumental in assisting novice scriptwriters win awards at film festivals around the country and subsequently getting their stories on screen

The workshop is designed to enhance each participant’s ability to develop and execute a superior script while striving to improve their ability to create imaginative and emotionally layered characters. Since the whole concept of Script Writing is based upon active performance of the work, visiting professional actors will be invited in to perform workshop members’ writing to further enhance an understanding of the nature of the performance, the direction of dialog, and the fluid nature of script interpretation.

Alyn Darnay an acclaimed Writer/ Director and winner of eleven outstanding awards of excellence, will conduct the workshop program. Alyn also guest lectures at Colleges and Universities in both scriptwriting and acting.

There is a $200 fee per person. You can register for the Workshop online at the FFI website.

FFI Student Receives Major Honor from Miami-Dade Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment

We are proud to announce that Miami Northwestern Senior High student Marcus Issac, whose class film “A New Love” was mentored by the Florida Film Institute, has won the Miami Dade Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment Student Filmmaker Award for outstanding contributions in producing and editing.

Marcus is a promising young filmmaker and we at the FFI are all thrilled to have been part of his development.

Said Franceasca Seiden and Iris B Cegarra, two FFI teachers who taught classes at Miami Northwestern, “Marcus is remarkably talented. We watched him advance as producer and then editor on the project ‘A New Love’ and since then he has helped our company 3GZ Productions on two film related projects as an intern. We believe that we’re helping to create a future filmmaker of note.”

They added that, “…the experience we had working with the kids from Miami Northwester High was fulfilling beyond belief. Teaching them the entire process of making a movie and having them catch on so fast was more exciting for us than maybe for them.”

Two Of Our Student Films Chosen For Broadcast

We’d like to extend our congratulations to all the students involved in creating the two films, “Safe” and “Unauthorized”, chosen by The Independents’ Film Festival and the Education Channel for airing all month on Junior Mediafest 2006. We’re just thrilled these excellent films were picked among “the best of the festival”.

The Independents’ Film Festival is an annual event featuring full-length films, shorts, animations and documentaries. A portion of the Festival, the Junior Mediafest, is a competition dedicated to School-aged Filmmakers, the emerging voices of tomorrow’s cinema. Our two films were chosen to compete and were both selected for broadcast.

Junior Mediafest airs on The Education Channel every Saturday from 10 am, until 2 pm, throughout the month of September. Make sure to watch; you won’t be disappointed.

Meet Our Grant Writer…

Like most every Non-Profit Organization, The Florida Film Institute relies upon securing Grants to meet its operating expenses. Writing a Grant request is an arduous process that calls for strict attention to detail and a deep understanding of the structure needed to fulfill the obligations of the Grant. Lisa Merritt is our talented Grant Writer.

Lisa is a professional grant writer with over ten years of experience in assisting non-profit organizations to achieve their fundraising goals. Her company, Pegasus Consulting Group, currently boasts clients in the areas of the arts, child services, education, and health.

She joined forces with the Florida Film Institute over a year ago, and has assisted FFI in creating successful grant applications for the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, the State of Florida Department of Cultural Affairs, the City of Miami, the City of Miami Beach, and Bank Atlantic.

Lisa is also the author of Simply: Grant Writing, the first e-book in the “Simply Series” for non-profit organizations. Please visit the company website,, for a complete selection of e-books for the non-profit sector. All e-books may be purchased and downloaded over the Internet.

Lisa Merritt can be reach directly at 305-412-3855 for any further information.

“Sometimes You Can Do It With Duct Tape”, musings from Alyn Darnay…

This past week found me at Turner Tech High School observing the edit of a film the students had created under our tutelage just as the school term was ending last year. I was particularly interested in this one because not only did I teach the scriptwriting portion of the course, but I also advised on the shoot and was pleasantly surprised to see how good the footage the students were shooting was. It was exciting to watch. Very fresh, very creative. Good Script, great acting. Actually, great direction.

Okay, I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit spoiled. I’m used to big comfortable editing suites loaded with cutting edge equipment and my editor John who is as fast as greased lightning on the computers. So you have to appreciate it when I tell you the room they were working in was more of a closet than a room, the equipment consisted of one monitor, one computer tower with limited memory running Final Cut Pro, and two dedicated creative young women with limited editing experience and a burning desire to make a movie. My heart went out to them. They were working so hard to create the perfect edit, cutting scene to scene, logging the outs, transposing takes, and dealing with sound they could barely hear on the tinny speaker they had to use. Yet, they worked it to perfection.

A quick discussing here, a compromise there, a cueing problem to overcome. Missing sound. Too many good takes to choose from. It was the maddening process of editing a film, in microcosm. And they were not letting anything stop them or get in their way. They were making their movie. And it was coming together great. It was being done the hard way, but, hey, they have the spark. And I’m standing there huddled in the corner making myself as small as possible not wanting to take up precious space and feeling so proud to be part of the organization that made this experience happen for them.

Sometimes in Life, there are no obstacles. All it takes is a little Duct Tape in the form of desire and Voila. it’s a movie.


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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