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October 2011 Newsletter

A Message From Stephanie Martino


Well, FFI is off to a great start of the new school year. Last month, we brought the CINEMA program to John Ferguson Senior High School and Coral Gables Senior High School. And just a couple of weeks ago, the drama class at North Miami Beach Senior High School started the program and are beginning to think about script ideas for their short film. Currently, JFSHS is writing a comedy and CGSHS is writing a psychological thriller. We are very excited to read their first drafts and also prepare the students for their upcoming classes which include pre-production, auditioning, sound, camera, lighting and editing. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates about these schools and their films!

Introduction of New FFI Instructors

We are proud to introduce the newest crew members of the Florida Film Institute, Santiago Sierra and Elizabeth Becker! Santiago is our new acting instructor and his energy and talents are a huge asset to FFI—and Elizabeth Becker, a wonderful new addition to FFI is our new Site Coordinator at the LHCC. Welcome Santi and Elizabeth, we look forward to working with you!

Santiago Sierra began his studies in drama at Grupo Prometeo with Teresa Maria Rojas and Larry Villanueva in 2000. In the theater, he has appeared in The Voyager without Baggage, Ms. Tessa Triff’s Been Drinking, and on the international tour of El Cuento de Rene, in Casa de Teatro, Santo Domingo, D.R. In television, he has appeared on Venevision’s Pecadora, Sacrificio de Mujer, and Telemundo’s Mas Sabe el Diablo, Perro Amor, and Aurora.

Born and raised in Northern Minnesota, Elizabeth graduated from Bemidji State University with a degree in Biochemistry. With a goal of becoming a Medical Doctor, Elizabeth applied for Medical School when she decided to pursue her true passion and become a writer. Elizabeth is currently working on a series of Children’s and Young Adult novels.

Film Festival Updates!

News from the Yosemite Film Festival: THE FINAL CHAPTER (produced by students at FVSHS) has won the 2011 John Muir Award Winner in the student film competition!!!!

SECOND CHANCE to be screened at the “Tomorrows Filmmakers Today”, at the Miami Short Film Festival.

Check out

THE FINAL CHAPTER (FVSHS) and TRAPPED (RMEC) were Official Selections at the 2011 Independents’ Film Festival in Tampa.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of the CINEMA participants and teachers!


Area high school students are becoming filmmakers at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, the Saturday morning program got off to an exciting start when the audition process was covered by Tropik TV news and CBS 4 Focus on South Florida aired an interview with Ms. Martino that weekend. Students showed off their work, including paintings, poetry, stories, and even film projects, to the panel in order to be accepted into the 18 week program. With hands on activities, the students will be learning practical film skills such as how to write a script, light a set, act, or even direct. Recently, many of the students presented their own original short film ideas to the class and the winning idea, “Purr”, was chosen by popular vote. “Purr”, the brainchild of William Bethel, is the story of an up and coming Jazz Club called “Purr” that features a talented young singer whose voice “purrs” when she hits the high notes. Controversy will ensue when a high rolling Record Executive decides that he wants not only the club but also its prized singer. Purr will be written by students William Bethel, Ryan Haney, Alejandro Chavarria, and Denise Collins.


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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