Film camp brings the big screen to the small town

Celia Cooley, 12, right, of Front Royal, and Maxwell Freiler, 14, center, of Harpers Ferry, capture audio with a sound boom and digital recorder as actor Max Grzelakowski, 17, left, of Winchester, performs a scene outside the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester on Thursday. The group was part of the Skyline Film Camp. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER — Filming for the box office smash “Wonder Woman” was 20 years in the making, credited hundreds of cast and crew and used top of the line equipment to make the film a success.

Brian Patrick, on the other hand, has a crew of eight, plus himself and a few mentors, a week and whatever equipment they can borrow, to produce the same results…kind of. Patrick, the director of the Skyline Indie Film Festival, is in his second year leading the Young Filmmakers Camp, which is geared toward giving kids ages 10-18 experience in the entire film making process from start to finish.

“I want creative youth to know that you can make a movie if you want to,” Patrick said. “The barriers that might be planted in your head, whether it’s money or availability of equipment, they’re just not there like they used to be. You can absolutely make a movie, and this is how you do it.”

Patrick said he started this camp, in this area, because he wants to tap into the potential that the area has to offer in terms of filmmakers.

“I wanted to do it here, in this community, because we have the Skyline Indie Film Fest and most of those films come from outside of our community,” Patrick said. “I know there’s a lot of talent here in our community and I definitely intend to nurture that creativity of the young filmmakers here in our area.”

Colin Wilt, left, and Eva Shifflett, right, both 11 and from Winchester, play back video of their movie at the Musuem of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily

One of those young filmmakers is 12-year-old Celia Cooley, of Front Royal. Celia is in her first year at the camp, and has been involved in the writing, acting and behind the scenes work of the camp’s upcoming movie. She said she loves being on screen and hopes that the movie is well received.

“I really like to do film and I really love acting,” Celia said. “We just moved to Front Royal and I found this camp and I thought it would be really cool to work with other people on making a film. I really liked when we were filming, that was really cool. I hope people like it (the movie) and it’ll be fun to let people see what we have done this week.”

The campers, who came from Front Royal, Winchester and Harpers Ferry, have been responsible for the entire filming process. Maxwell Grzelakowski, a 17-year-old camper from Winchester, submitted the script that was eventually chosen. Along with Celia and Maxwell, other campers Chase O’Keeffe, Maxwell Freiler, Josh Horn, Eva Shifflett, Luke Riddle and Colin Wilt were busy this week with tasks such as making shot lists and locations, shooting the scenes and getting the final product ready for viewing, with just a little bit of help.

“We have professional mentors here, from Front Royal, Mirandum Pictures, and we basically just keep them (the campers) safe and keep them on task,” Patrick said. “They do it soup to nuts, front to back. They finished assembly Thursday, color grading, they recorded ADR (automatic dialog replacement). Friday will be the very final touches and we’ll render it. At 3 o’clock Friday, we showed it to friends, family and folks at the museum.”

The film, which is titled “Ambulance 1618,” is five minutes long and can be viewed on YouTube through the following link: http://bit.ly/film_camp.

The camp is also made possible, in part, by a grant from the Marion Lewis Park Foundation in Winchester.