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Thursday, 06 August 2009 11:20

Sunscreen Film Festival Salutes Summer Camp Graduates

Written by  Lisa Mansell
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Graduates of the Sunscreen Film Festival Summer CampST. PETERSBURG: Forget the bug spray and the rain poncho – at the Sunscreen Film Festival’s first annual Summer Camp, 9 aspiring filmmakers between the ages of 14 – 18 braved the elements of film making with laptops and their imaginations.

Instead of a campground and hours of lanyard making, the students converged on Studio 620 in downtown St. Pete. Owned and operated by Bob Devon Jones, the studio provided the perfect venue for two action-packed weeks.

Southeastern University film professor and Sunscreen Board member David DeBorde instructed the students in the arts of screen writing, acting, directing and editing and then got them busy applying what they had learned.

“What made the camp successful,” said DeBorde, “was the combination of theory and practice. They’d learn some concepts but then they’d go and perform the concepts.”

The camp culminated in the making of two films, written, directed and sometimes acted in by the students themselves.

The premiere screening of these short films, “The Perfect Guy” and “Tripped” at the students’ camp graduation event on June 17th

In a special Q and A session after the screenings, the students detailed contending with the Florida weather, leaf blowers, hecklers and reluctant actors in getting the films made, but the show must go on.

DeBorde and Sunscreen Board member J. Declan Flynn supervised the two productions.

Students got creative with their sets and props. They took a corner of Studio 620 and turned it into one of the character’s bedrooms. For another scene, the men’s bathroom door (shot from the inside) became the “front door” to one of the character’s apartments.

The students used all of their available resources, including DeBorde, who starred as a St. Pete pan-handler in the short film “Tripped.”

The creative action brought the group together. DeBorde said that he enjoyed seeing everyone come together as a team, “Everyone got along and grew tremendously during those two weeks.”  

DeBorde said that he really wanted the students to understand the basics of making a short film and hopes that they will take what they learned to stay creative and do more.

As all of the students had written scripts, DeBorde arranged for actors to read aloud those scripts not made into films. Sunscreen Board Members and Committee members Harry Chittenden, Jennifer Linhart-Wild, Cameron and Zoreida Cox and Gina Kugler showed off their acting skills in parts ranging from “Short Thug” to the Grim Reaper to a Mexican Immigrant trying to make his way back to his family.
The two films were screened for 60 family, friends and guests. The proud graduates were Michel Lopez Behar, Evan Carnevali, Nick Rua, James and Zachary Rockwell, Cassidy Routh, Emma Rubini, Sam Zimmerman and Talia Vechazone.

DeBorde is already looking forward to next year. “Each student had their own take and perspective on the camp. I think that that’s wonderful because it shows the class wasn’t a one-trick pony, but instead it was a quality, multi-layered learning experience.”

The Sunscreen Film Festival, now in its fifth year will be hosting several educational seminars and film screenings throughout the year as it builds up to the festival in April. To find out more, please go to

Read 1428 times Last modified on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 10:02