Windsor Centre for Film, Digital Media, and the Creative Arts Hosts Online ‘Master Shot Summit’ This Weekend

Attention all Windsor filmmakers, media content creators, and especially you, the person reading this that would like to be a Windsor filmmaker or content creator, this article is for you. Amanda Gellman has done it again, she continues to bring opportunities to develop the Windsor filmmaking industry. Windsor Centre for Film, Digital Media, and the Creative Arts is hosting an online event this weekend that will add more links between you the Windsor filmmaker and/or digital media content creator and the rest of the film and production industry.

With events like, “Financing Media Projects in Ontario”, “Unions, Guilds, and Associations in Film and Media”, “Influencers, and Online Content Creators Roundtable”, or “Sponsors and Local Media Companies Showcase” to name only a few – the Master Shot Summit is the next step of your Master Plan for becoming a Windsor filmmaker and digital media content creator.

If you are a filmmaker here in Southwestern Ontario, the above ‘Master Shot Summit’ is an excellent opportunity for you to learn valuable industry information as well as a great networking opportunity. Guest speakers include: Sir Richard Taylor, Noelle Carbone, Jason B. Stamey, and Tanner Zipchen, former Cineplex pre-show host from 2015-2020.

The online event, happening this weekend (Nov. 19-21) will feature:

“A project financing session (with Telefilm and Canada Media Fund), a unions panel (with ACTRA, WGC, DGC, IATSE), a panel of social media influencers and creators, an info session about media tax credits, a local production company showcase, workshops with talent agents, a video game developers panel, a copyright and entertainment law crash course, [and] Diversity/Equity/Inclusion roundtables.”

The event runs on the online platform, Hubilo. Participants will be able to connect with others/speakers, complete challenges, organize one on one meetings, join networking lounges and many more engaging experiences via the Hubilo platform.

‘Master Shot Summit’ is a collaboration between Windsor Centre for Film, Digital Media, and the Creative Arts, the local non-profit organization that founded Film Camp for Kids here in Windsor, Ont, and a charity, the Media Arts Community Centre and Museum. Both centres are dedicated to creating jobs and growing talent in film and media arts in Southwestern Ontario.

Amanda Gellman says, “We have been discussing the need for a digital media conference for a very long time, and we are proud that we have come to a place where we can host this amazing (and affordable) conference for the community. The event is on-line this year, and next year a portion will be held in our new facility. Young entrepreneurs, second career seekers, students and professionals are all welcome.  The goal of the Summit is for participants to gain skills and/or expand their networks through seminars and workshops. Our larger community-based mandate is to offer opportunities that will grow regional talent and jobs for our emerging film and digital media industry.”

Aaron Fauteux, Project Coordinator for the ‘Master Shot Summit’ says, ““The big-name guest speakers like Richard Taylor, Jason B. Stamey, Noelle Carbone, and Tanner Zipchen all have the common denominator of having been born far away from the Hollywood system and can speak to making a name for themselves in the industry despite that challenge, which I hope will inspire those in our area to believe we can make an impact from here too.”

For more information, or to purchase tickets (ranging from $25 to $125 for the entire weekend) please go to

Finally, a word from an award winning filmmaker from Windsor-Essex, Gavin Michael Booth: “This event is going to be a great opportunity for anyone looking to start or further their career. This industry is all about networking, so having an event like the Master Shot Summit where creators can meet and learn from each other is vital if Windsor-Essex is going to have a thriving filmmaking community.”

Film Camp for Kids Offers Online Summer Classes in Filmmaking

Film Camp for Kids is offering online classes in filmmaking this summer. Their successful in-person camps have been reformatted to new virtual online editions this summer in response to the pandemic. Students have the opportunity to learn filmmaking in a virtual environment for the virtual world. 

Currently, the camp is offering 3 hour/day weekly classes in small groups for filmmaking, available over the Zoom platform. These 3-hour morning classes include creative work at home, which gives children and teens fun activities to do at home.

Additionally, they are also offering 30+ daily live one-hour tutorial sessions. Some of the topics include: Intro to Horror Screenwriting: The Essentials, Choosing Video Editing Software: The Pros and Cons, Writing: Script Story Structure / Dramatic Intent, Editing in Final Cut Pro X and so much more!

We have entered Phase 2, even with some progress, we are still dealing with the effects and risk of COVID-19; but you can still learn and create filmmaking opportunities for youth. Students are still exposed to qualified instructors, and learn together over the Zoom platform in small groups. Students still write a script themselves and break down the shooting of their production. Students are then able to film specific shots for various scenes independently at their home. This footage is then uploaded to a server where it is edited. Final cuts of the films are uploaded to Youtube

The leap to a virtual program is keeping Film Camp for Kids operational through 2020. For children, the program will teach them valuable team-working skills in a new virtual world; while strengthening their independent filmmaking skills necessary as we move forward, uncertain of how long it will last, or what impact ‘the new normal’ will have on our daily filmmaking lives. 

More information is available online at Film Camp for Kids. Don’t delay, register today

A WIFF 2019 Recap

The Windsor International Film Festival has seen substantial growth since its first screening 15 years ago. It is not just the number 15 being celebrated though, it is the fact that the festival has been named “Canada’s No. 1 Film Festival” on TIFF’s Film Circuit. Congratulations to WIFF on all the success.

WIFF presented 165 features and documentary films during 277 screenings; 21 of those films were local programming, which is exciting for Windsor’s film industry. The stats are impressive: there are 132 Oscar nominations among this year’s 165 films, shipping in from 29 other countries, 83 films from world leading film festivals, 46 alone from TIFF. 

The festival has grown quickly over its 15 years. It added a huge extension with the monthly WIFF365 series, allowing WIFF subscribers to experience even more film screenings throughout the year. This year, for example, the festival has expanded again by extending its run to ten days, and also by adding WIFF Alley, and WIFF Village.

#WIFF Alley

Speaking of festival growth, it was announced last week that WIFF sold over 42, 000 tickets to the 2019 festival, a record in ticket sales for the festival; and a real indicator that there is a market for cinema here in Windsor.

Making a big contribution at this year’s WIFF were local filmmakers Gemma Eva and Calum Hotchkiss, who worked together on the short film’s “Rough Love” and “The Rabbit and the Snare”. Both films screened during “WIFF Local Shorts”, and were received with a round of applause. They also worked on Boys Vs. Girls, where Gemma was an Associate Producer and Calum was the Key Grip. 

The Chrysler Theatre

“WIFF Local Shorts” was a highlight of the festival for me. Presented at the cinematic Chrysler Theatre, this evening had a touch of magic and the feel of a big premiere. There was an energy in the theatre as we watched a roll of locally produced shorts together. Enthusiasm for the movies was pulsing in the many cheers from a vibrant crowd. I wish there had been a Q&A afterwards, or other glimpse of the filmmakers.

Gemma Eva had a successful festival with the screening of “Rough Love”, this year’s Best Screenplay winner at the University of Windsor Film Festival, which Gemma has won three years in a row. She also won Best Director. Gemma Eva has been steadily writing and directing movies in Windsor for over five years: “The Last Night” (2015), “Damned for All Time” (2016), “Again” (2016), A Late Night Adventure with Holly and Zoe” (2017), “Heidi Wilson is Okay” (2018), and “Full Meta Racket” (2018). 

“Rough Love” will precede The Birder on Friday January 24, see Events calendar for details.

The local screenings did not stop with the shorts though, there were 11 feature films that were local as well. Boys vs. Girls was shot out at Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp and another highlight of the festival for me. I attended Kiwanis camp as a child, and to see the pool, and the cabins freshly painted, was a vivid reminder of a wonderful experience of my youth and why I’m so passionate about seeing Windsor in the movies. This event featured a brief Q&A with Theodore Bezaire and Mike Stasko afterward, where they let slip they have more projects on the go, the Windsor movie-making magic continues …

The Quick and Dirty by Jordan Krug and Nicholas Shields is another film with shooting locations in Essex County. The indie drama Last Call was co-written and directed by Windsor’s Gavin Michael Booth. There is also Prey, a documentary directed by Windsor’s Matt Gallagher which was a winner at Hot Docs Documentary Festival earlier this year. Prey was also voted as this year’s LiUNA! People’s Choice Award winner at WIFF, congratulations to Matt Gallagher and the team that created the documentary about sexual abuse. 

Now that the festival is over, you may find yourself experiencing WIFF withdrawals, and yearning for next year; but remember, WIFF365 will be happening every month until WIFF2020.

What was your favourite movie from WIFF? Please leave your comments below, thank you.

Building the Industry Locally by Growing Talent: Film Camp for Kids

Photo courtesy of Film Camp for Kids.

Amanda Gellman is Chairwoman for the Windsor Centre for Film, Digital Media and Creative Arts, and she wants to do something really special, she’s trying to build a film industry in our beloved Windsor. One of the most exciting things by far happening in the construction of this industry is Film Camp for Kids.

“It takes 30-40 years to build an industry, it all starts with growing talent. Many of our programs look at the needs of growing talent in the young.” Says Amanda Gellman. 

Film Camp offers several week-long workshops where students work in small groups to make a short film from conception to finished product. Kids learn basic elements of planning, writing, lighting, designing, shooting, and editing a movie. They do it by a deadline, on a budget, using the resources available. They use their creativity, and learn quality filmmaking skills in the process by working together as a team. 

After a family and friends viewing night serves as a premiere, student films are posted to the camp’s Youtube channel, where a growing number of student films can be viewed. Students are being exposed to the full spectrum of the film production experience, and what is most important of course, is that they are doing it right here on location in cinematic Windsor.

Film Camp for Kids is a part of Windsor Centre for Film, Digital Media and Creative Arts. The Centre is operating 10, 000 square feet of prime real-estate in downtown Windsor. 4, 000 of those square feet are taken up by Hub 691. The remaining 6, 000 square feet are occupied by the successful Film Camp for Kids, which has plans to expand again in 2020. 

Currently, Film Camp’s 6, 000 square feet facility features a multi-room studio, a Green screen room and set, an Art room for painting and more, and Costume room, as well as the filming equipment, lights, camera’s, and the kids of course, supply the action. 

A tour of the current downtown studio. Courtesy of Film Camp for Kids.

“Our kids get practical experience out on location, most programs work in a studio, we go out … they learn how to behave on a shoot location or at a business. We’ve shot at City Hall, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, board rooms, and parks,” Says Gellman of the student experience. 

Since its inception in 2012, Film Camp has had 350 kids at their programs, 90% of those kids have been back multiple times. Film Camp’s goal is to grow talent, and they are doing it, not just with students, but also the instructors.

As of 2019, Film Camp has offered 75 summer jobs in seven years. “The goal remains to grow talent, so we offer those jobs to film students to help grow their talent.” Says Amanda Gellman. 

The prices for the Film Camp are: $200/week and $175/week for multiple weeks. 

For a week long training camp in visual arts and film, that’s a fair price. Similar camps in Toronto or even Detroit are going for around 5 or 600 /week; which is truly one of the benefits of growing a big industry in a smaller market. 

Movies, if you haven’t heard, is big industry. They are at the forefront of audiovisual storytelling in the multi-modal millennium. As viewing options are still expanding, there is no limit in sight to the potential for movies as an artform to reach people. These artists are pioneers of creativity and digital media, and Windsor’s growing them by the heap. You know what they say about Essex County and growing things – from grapes for wine to students of film, this is a good place to grow. 

Windsor offers it all, and with Film Camp for Kids feeding students into the Film and Media programs at the University of Windsor, the cinematic ball has started to roll into the next 30 years. Stay tuned.