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October 2020 Newsletter


Hello Everyone!

I hope all of you are doing well and staying safe & healthy during these unprecedented times. The last 8 months have been some of the most trying and concerning to say the very least. Who would have thought a pandemic would be happening during any of our lifetimes? I know this has not been easy to navigate for many of you but we must stay positive, focused and look forward to happier and better times ahead. With that being said, I am fortunate to have an organization that is thriving and growing despite the current global situation. Back in mid-March when the world stopped and shutdowns began, FFI was able to continue our award-winning CINEMA program and transition from an in person classroom to a virtual platform, almost immediately too! Going directly online via ZOOM and exploring with multiple filmmaking technology components, the projects developed have been above and beyond our expectations. One of the silver linings for film students staying home is that they have been able to evolve into becoming the next generation of mobile creators! They now have the tools to think outside the box to work creatively within an online production team as well as on their own domain. This “new change” of filmmaking has proven that young filmmakers can produce efficiently at home by being innovative with only a computer and smartphone.

We trust that our students are acclimating and enjoying the new school year, despite the unusual circumstances of social distancing and wearing masks. Nearly two months have passed since the school year began- and just recently M-DCPS doors reopened for students to resume classes at their respective schools. Please understand that FFI will remain online indefinitely as each of the CINEMA sites has their set of rules and guidelines for after school programming. In addition, 90% of our students have opted to stay home and out of in-person instruction for the time being. None of us know when the pandemic will pass or when life will get back to what we are used to– and we fully understand that students/parents need to make the best decisions for their family re educational and safety choices.

I would like to recognize my staff who have done an extraordinary job and are working harder than ever implementing new camera/editing apps for our CINEMA program. They have all been dedicated (and very patient!) in learning the new filmmaking tools and are now able to train the students with all of the state of the art technology. The feedback has been wonderful so far and the students enjoy attending each session to expand their creative and technical knowledge. We are excited to see what this year’s students produce as the possibilities and imaginative endeavors are endless.

Please read below for all of the latest and greatest news that FFI has to share……and please continue to be well, and if you are able to please stay home to stay safe!


2019 – 2020 CINEMA – After School Film Program Update

While the school year did not end as we had intended it to, the students completed their narrative and silent film projects! And new this year…. the 5 short (1 minute) silent films created by our students were uploaded to Facebook to seek out film fans from across the nation to help pick the audience choice award for the best one! The results were fun to watch roll in and we announced the winner of this award, as well as the other winners of the creative/technical awards during an online premiere screening/awards show which was held on May 23rd, 2020 (via a private link for the CINEMA students and their parents).  The projects created are now being entered into numerous film fests some of which are local, statewide and/or nationwide.

The 5/23 CINEMA screening (via YouTube) & awards (via ZOOM) were amazing! Here is a complete list of the winners for the 2019-2020 CINEMA program!

1st place- SUGAR RUSH (WHSHS)
2nd place – THE HAND (ATMSHS)

1st place- NEXT OF KIN (ATMSHS)
2nd place- SHE’S A RAINBOW (WHSHS)

1st place- SHE’S A RAINBOW (WHSHS)
2nd place- GOT WELL SOON (JFSHS)
3rd place- NEXT OF KIN (ATMSHS)

1st place- SHE’S A RAINBOW (WHSHS)
2nd place- GOT WELL SOON (JFSHS)
3rd place- NEXT OF KIN (ATMSHS)

1st place- GOT WELL SOON (JFSHS)
2nd place- SHE’S A RAINBOW (WHSHS)
3rd place- NEXT OF KIN (ATMSHS)

1st place- NEXT OF KIN (ATMSHS)
2nd place- SHE’S A RAINBOW (WHSHS)
3rd place- GOT WELL SOON (JFSHS)

2nd place- NEXT OF KIN (ATMSHS)
3rd place- GOT WELL SOON (JFSHS)

From the film NEXT OF KIN (ATMSHS), Veronica Cedeno (character of Alex)

From the film GOT WELL SOON (JFSHS), Matthew Hernandez (character of Alex)

Bianca Rivera, GOT WELL SOON (JFSHS)


Check out the CINEMA PROGRAM E-BOOK by clicking on the button below:

FFI Cinema Program 2019 - 2020

Zoom Meeting Screenshot

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

There are 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 efforts! It’s an amazing opportunity for high school students who are interested in exploring filmmaking as a creative path into their future careers!


The 3 CINEMA sites now in session for the 2020-2021 school years are Alonzo and Tracey Mourning SHS, John A. Ferguson SHS and Westland Hialeah SHS.  The students are learning about new filmmaking tools used for all types of productions— the state of the art film apps included are: LumaFusion, FilmicPro, Shot Designer and (see below re FFI partnership news!)

Summer Film Camp 2020

The summer film camp was a huge success despite the program having to transition to a virtual format, and only weeks before the first day of class! Almost everyone that had initially signed up for camp decided to remain on the roster- and learn with us virtually for 6 weeks of intensive filmmaking!  The camp took place June 15th – July 23rd, 2020, Monday – Thursday, 10am- 1pm via ZOOM app. The project produced, “REALITY CHECK”, was solely produced in each student home– mostly just using cell phones to film and edit! Their film has already been entered into numerous film fests and we anticipate this film doing very well on the festival circuit!  The film premiere was held virtually on September 12, 2020 via a private link for the camp students and their parents.

And that’s a virtual wrap…

Zoom Meeting Screenshot Partnership

We are so excited to announce that FFI has entered into a marketing partnership with! It is such an honor and thrill to have our CINEMA students learn and work within this state of the art filmmaking platform! is the market driver for cloud-based video review and collaboration. As the connective tissue between the essential tools creators use to make video, eliminates the obstacles of time and distance, enabling any collaborator, anywhere, to contribute the content or feedback that’s essential to delivering a top-quality product. At its very core, helps you work at the speed of creativity. Website on Facebook on Instagram on Twitter on Dribbble

New Staff Member – Anthony DeCario, Assistant Site Coordinator

Anthony DeCario, New Staff Member

Anthony has worked as a freelancer in Film & Television Production, typically as a Director, Director of Photography, or working in the camera department. After studying Film Theory and Production in both high school at John A. Ferguson Senior High School, and at the university level at the University of Central Florida, he moved back to Miami in pursuit of participating in creative projects and technical work in the film industry. Anthony has worked in various departments and held many positions from Director of Photography, to 1st Assistant Camera, G&E, Editor, Producer, etc. on various projects such as narrative feature films, music videos, commercials, and many other types of content. However, his true passion is Directing, because he loves collaborating and curating a group of likeminded people to achieve the presentation of new thoughts and ideas. Anthony says that filmmaking is the best way he can thoroughly and clearly communicate his personal thoughts and ideas to others. Anthony’s goal is to continue to collaborate with others to tell a story that will help an audience understand new perspectives— and Anthony hopes to inspire the ones he works with to do the same.

Film Festival News Updates

The 2020 summer film camp project REALITY CHECK is a nominated film for the 19th Edition of the MIAMI short FILM FESTIVAL. More details to follow re dates and updated screening info. In the meantime check out their website @

Congrats to all of the staff and students who worked so hard to make this project a success. We are especially proud of this film as it was a first for FFI – a short film created virtually from the safety of everyone’s homes. WOW!

Miami Short Film Festival Website
Miami Short Film Festival on Facebook
Miami Short Film Festival Website on Instagram
Miami Short Film Festival on Twitter
Miami Short Film Festival on YouTube
Miami Short Film Festival on Vimeo


Miami Short Film Festival Nominee

Amazing news! “GREY” (FFI’s 2019 summer film camp project) was just selected by LittleBig Children’s Film Festival via! – Congrats to all of the filmmakers and actors who worked on this film!

LittleBig Children’s Film Festival Website
LittleBig Children’s Film Festival on Instagram

LittleBig Children's Film Festival Official Selection

The FFI short film STRAIGHT-ISH (from JFSHS, 2019-2019 school year) screened @ OUTSHINE VIRTUAL FILM FESTIVAL: SOUTH FLORIDA SPEAKS – LOCAL SHORTS PROGRAM on 8/30/20.

OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival went Virtual for 2020! Showcasing 44 screenings with over 80 films in 10 days. Including virtual social events, live Q&A’s, filmmaker & talent appearances, and much more to maintain that true “festival” experience that OUTshine delivers year after year!

OUTshine Film Festival Website

Outshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival Official Selection

More film fest news to share… STRAIGHT-ISH (JFSHS project from the 2018-2019 school year) is a SEMI-FINALIST of the Student Los Angeles Film Awards (SLAFA)! Stay tuned for more info!

Student Los Angeles Film Awards (SLAFA) aims to highlight the high school, undergrad and graduate film students. Their mission is to promote films, and be another step up in the young filmmakers’ careers. SLAFA features live screenings and award ceremonies in the heart of Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA. The Film Festival is established and managed by the film industry professionals of Cinematography Awards Foundation – CAWARDS.ORG.

Student LA Awards Website

Student Los Angeles Film Awards

STRAIGHT-ISH was also was chosen as an official selection into the 2020 Louisiana LGBT+ Film Festival – congrats to the cast and crew who participated in this project!

Louisiana LGBT Film Festival Website
Lousiana LGBT Film Festival on FilmFreeway


Louisiana LGBT+

The San Bernardino Valley College International Student Film Festival screened live through Facebook and Youtube.

The festival took place on April 23rd for creative projects that made it to the “selected” films category. This included VIVA LA REVOLUTION, which is FFI’s 2019 summer film camp project.

Louisiana LGBT Film Festival Website

Official Selection San Bernardion Valley College International Student Film Festival


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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