Saturday, September 29, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Young participants of the Youth Film Workshop edit a film of their own at the Maywood Public Library on Sept. 29. | VFP
On Saturday afternoon, four young people crowded around a laptop inside of the Maywood Public Library, 121 S. 5th Ave. The kids weren’t looking to be entertained.
They were part of the first-ever Youth Film Workshop facilitated by filmmaker Reginald Rice, the owner of Feel So Reel Productions.
“”This workshop focuses on perspective,” Rice said of the one-day event. “I present the students with optic illusions to get them to think about what they’re seeing in media and to question what they’re seeing when they watch these different types of media.”
As a final project, the students produced and edited a short film that features them talking about their dreams and aspirations — a fitting theme, considering that most of the young people said they aspire to someday break into the film industry.
“This has been fun,” said Eric Lewis, Jr., a Maywood native who grew up in Woodridge. Lewis said that the workshop has allowed him to flex his skills, which he’s already put to good use in the past.
“A couple of years ago, I did this movie at my old school,” he said. “We had to film a movie that had to be edited and finished in two weeks. It was good. My teachers said that it was a grade-A movie.”
The workshop was the brainchild of Tanya Butler — a longtime Maywood library trustee — and Marvin Mason, a local educator and film industry insider.
Marvin Mason, Nate Harris, Myles Harris, Reginald Rice, Krysta Grant, Eric Lewis, Jr. and Tanya Butler during a break from Saturday’s film workshop. | VFP
Mason, a Maywood resident who teaches reading, social studies, language arts and English at Roosevelt Middle School in Bellwood, said that he and his wife, Diane, were motivated to help host the workshop because of the effect it might have on students’ more foundational learning skills.
“It’s a matter of how we apply purpose behind reading and writing,” said Mason, who has decades of knowledge in film.
“I started off at MCA Universal and then worked for two local companies [in the Chicago area],” he said. “I’ve always been in film — ever since I first got to Maywood in 1965.”
For Butler, the workshop was about providing young people with access to opportunity. Her daughter, Maywood native Tammera Holmes, first explored the idea of going into aviation when, at 16, she took a plane ride at Meigs Field with the Chicago chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Holmes went on to found AeroStar Corporation, which is focused on recruiting minority young people aviation, aerospace and STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] careers.
“This is how my daughter got her vision,” Butler said of the kind of programs that open young people to worlds beyond their every day reality.
“I’ve always believed in exposure, exposure, exposure,” she said. “If they don’t get the exposure, how will kids know whether or not they want to do something?” VFP
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