West-end students take on three-minute documentary filmmaking projects in CityShorts

WhatsOn Nov 29, 2015 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

For four years, Helen Costa, a Bishop Marrocco Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School student, has been taking the 504 streetcar, yet it wasn’t until recently that she discovered just how special some of its routes shops are.

As part of a filmmaking pilot project called CityShorts, presented by the not-for-profit Back Lane Studios, Costa was assigned the task of creating a three-minute documentary focusing on a particular aspect of Roncesvalles Village. Initially, Costa confessed, she wasn’t too thrilled about her topic: the Old Country Shop, a European gift shop on Roncesvalles Avenue.

“But, once we went down there and introduced ourselves to the shop owners, it was wonderful,” Costa, a Grade 12 Religion Arts student, told The Villager. “They were so sweet.”

The Old Country Shop is the only German store in Roncesvalles Village, Costa said she learned.

“Obviously, over the years, things have changed, but this is the only shop that maintained its history. Everything is original,” Costa said. “A lady who had come to the store while we were there filming had visited the store as a child. She said everything was still the same. She could see her childhood in the store.”

It was after filming was complete that Costa and her group then decided what story they wanted to tell and how they would whittle the footage down into three minutes. They called their film A Journey to Old Fashioned Europe.

“I take the 504 streetcar – I’ve never once looked out the window and acknowledged this shop. When I look at it now, it’s a special little store,” Costa said. “I want to take my mom and my brother there for Christmas. They’re known for their decorations and chocolate.”

Because the students only had a month to prepare their films, Back Lane Studios founder Ellen Moorhouse said she and its members prepared a roster of topics the students could choose from and provided filmmaking mentors to support them. The program was a success, albeit with a few bugs to work out, Moorhouse said.

“I think for us, the most gratifying was that the kids had an experience they never would have had with the community,” she said.

The students had the opportunity to see their work on the big screen at the Revue Cinema on Friday, Nov. 20, an experience Kobe Charles said was terrifying.

“I was scared for my life,” the Grade 12 student said of the prospect.

Charles and his group’s documentary is about local resident Tom Quinn’s board game, Game of Things. Charles admits he was apprehensive at first.

“It’s a board game. How can you make a video out of a board game,” he said he first thought.

Charles had the opportunity to play the game with Quinn at the Snakes & Lattes Board Game Café. They learned that Quinn was able to overcome obstacles to get the game made with help from friends and family and that it was so successful in its first two weeks earning $400,000.

The goal is to show the students’ films at the Revue as part of regular movie screenings before full-length features, Moorhouse said. Other local topics the students’ films covered included, Jitterbug Boy, the story of a shoemaker who creates footwear for stage screen and circus acts, and the Alonzo Boyd Gang, a notorious criminal gang, responsible for bank robberies, jail breaks and gun fights.

The pilot program would not have been possible without the help of former Religion Arts teacher Jeana McCabe, founder of the school’s Just Docs Festival, who retired last year.

“We wouldn’t be where we are at this stage without her experience, energy and connections,” Moorhouse said. “She was looking for a project, since she had just retired, and I was lucky to have drawn her in just at the right time.”

To find out more, contact city.shorts.project@gmail.com

West-end students take on three-minute documentary filmmaking projects in CityShorts

WhatsOn Nov 29, 2015 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

For four years, Helen Costa, a Bishop Marrocco Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School student, has been taking the 504 streetcar, yet it wasn’t until recently that she discovered just how special some of its routes shops are.

As part of a filmmaking pilot project called CityShorts, presented by the not-for-profit Back Lane Studios, Costa was assigned the task of creating a three-minute documentary focusing on a particular aspect of Roncesvalles Village. Initially, Costa confessed, she wasn’t too thrilled about her topic: the Old Country Shop, a European gift shop on Roncesvalles Avenue.

“But, once we went down there and introduced ourselves to the shop owners, it was wonderful,” Costa, a Grade 12 Religion Arts student, told The Villager. “They were so sweet.”

The Old Country Shop is the only German store in Roncesvalles Village, Costa said she learned.

“Obviously, over the years, things have changed, but this is the only shop that maintained its history. Everything is original,” Costa said. “A lady who had come to the store while we were there filming had visited the store as a child. She said everything was still the same. She could see her childhood in the store.”

It was after filming was complete that Costa and her group then decided what story they wanted to tell and how they would whittle the footage down into three minutes. They called their film A Journey to Old Fashioned Europe.

“I take the 504 streetcar – I’ve never once looked out the window and acknowledged this shop. When I look at it now, it’s a special little store,” Costa said. “I want to take my mom and my brother there for Christmas. They’re known for their decorations and chocolate.”

Because the students only had a month to prepare their films, Back Lane Studios founder Ellen Moorhouse said she and its members prepared a roster of topics the students could choose from and provided filmmaking mentors to support them. The program was a success, albeit with a few bugs to work out, Moorhouse said.

“I think for us, the most gratifying was that the kids had an experience they never would have had with the community,” she said.

The students had the opportunity to see their work on the big screen at the Revue Cinema on Friday, Nov. 20, an experience Kobe Charles said was terrifying.

“I was scared for my life,” the Grade 12 student said of the prospect.

Charles and his group’s documentary is about local resident Tom Quinn’s board game, Game of Things. Charles admits he was apprehensive at first.

“It’s a board game. How can you make a video out of a board game,” he said he first thought.

Charles had the opportunity to play the game with Quinn at the Snakes & Lattes Board Game Café. They learned that Quinn was able to overcome obstacles to get the game made with help from friends and family and that it was so successful in its first two weeks earning $400,000.

The goal is to show the students’ films at the Revue as part of regular movie screenings before full-length features, Moorhouse said. Other local topics the students’ films covered included, Jitterbug Boy, the story of a shoemaker who creates footwear for stage screen and circus acts, and the Alonzo Boyd Gang, a notorious criminal gang, responsible for bank robberies, jail breaks and gun fights.

The pilot program would not have been possible without the help of former Religion Arts teacher Jeana McCabe, founder of the school’s Just Docs Festival, who retired last year.

“We wouldn’t be where we are at this stage without her experience, energy and connections,” Moorhouse said. “She was looking for a project, since she had just retired, and I was lucky to have drawn her in just at the right time.”

To find out more, contact city.shorts.project@gmail.com

West-end students take on three-minute documentary filmmaking projects in CityShorts

WhatsOn Nov 29, 2015 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

For four years, Helen Costa, a Bishop Marrocco Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School student, has been taking the 504 streetcar, yet it wasn’t until recently that she discovered just how special some of its routes shops are.

As part of a filmmaking pilot project called CityShorts, presented by the not-for-profit Back Lane Studios, Costa was assigned the task of creating a three-minute documentary focusing on a particular aspect of Roncesvalles Village. Initially, Costa confessed, she wasn’t too thrilled about her topic: the Old Country Shop, a European gift shop on Roncesvalles Avenue.

“But, once we went down there and introduced ourselves to the shop owners, it was wonderful,” Costa, a Grade 12 Religion Arts student, told The Villager. “They were so sweet.”

The Old Country Shop is the only German store in Roncesvalles Village, Costa said she learned.

“Obviously, over the years, things have changed, but this is the only shop that maintained its history. Everything is original,” Costa said. “A lady who had come to the store while we were there filming had visited the store as a child. She said everything was still the same. She could see her childhood in the store.”

It was after filming was complete that Costa and her group then decided what story they wanted to tell and how they would whittle the footage down into three minutes. They called their film A Journey to Old Fashioned Europe.

“I take the 504 streetcar – I’ve never once looked out the window and acknowledged this shop. When I look at it now, it’s a special little store,” Costa said. “I want to take my mom and my brother there for Christmas. They’re known for their decorations and chocolate.”

Because the students only had a month to prepare their films, Back Lane Studios founder Ellen Moorhouse said she and its members prepared a roster of topics the students could choose from and provided filmmaking mentors to support them. The program was a success, albeit with a few bugs to work out, Moorhouse said.

“I think for us, the most gratifying was that the kids had an experience they never would have had with the community,” she said.

The students had the opportunity to see their work on the big screen at the Revue Cinema on Friday, Nov. 20, an experience Kobe Charles said was terrifying.

“I was scared for my life,” the Grade 12 student said of the prospect.

Charles and his group’s documentary is about local resident Tom Quinn’s board game, Game of Things. Charles admits he was apprehensive at first.

“It’s a board game. How can you make a video out of a board game,” he said he first thought.

Charles had the opportunity to play the game with Quinn at the Snakes & Lattes Board Game Café. They learned that Quinn was able to overcome obstacles to get the game made with help from friends and family and that it was so successful in its first two weeks earning $400,000.

The goal is to show the students’ films at the Revue as part of regular movie screenings before full-length features, Moorhouse said. Other local topics the students’ films covered included, Jitterbug Boy, the story of a shoemaker who creates footwear for stage screen and circus acts, and the Alonzo Boyd Gang, a notorious criminal gang, responsible for bank robberies, jail breaks and gun fights.

The pilot program would not have been possible without the help of former Religion Arts teacher Jeana McCabe, founder of the school’s Just Docs Festival, who retired last year.

“We wouldn’t be where we are at this stage without her experience, energy and connections,” Moorhouse said. “She was looking for a project, since she had just retired, and I was lucky to have drawn her in just at the right time.”

To find out more, contact city.shorts.project@gmail.com