Aspiring young filmmakers get top-shelf training ahead of Casino youth festival

BUDDING young filmmakers of the Richmond Valley have enjoyed a lightning course in filmmaking from two local industry professionals ahead of an exciting short film screening for young people at Casino’s Colley Park on Saturday 9 November.

Over two evenings, Simon and Stacey Baker, of Northern Rivers production company The Bakery, guided the participants aged between 12 and 25 through the fundamentals of filmmaking, from storyboarding, planning and scheduling, to shooting and editing, and storytelling tips.

Simon said with the ubiquity of smartphones these days, anyone could shoot a simple home video, but with a few technical tips and creative tricks, young filmmakers could easily turn a basic idea into a compelling visual story.

“There are so many fun and creative ways to use film to tell an exciting story and young people can really have a ball with it,” Simon said.

“Stacey and I got a real buzz seeing those sparks of inspiration turn on for our students.”

Simon added that making films was a multi-faceted process requiring both creative and organisations skills.

“Even if you don’t become the next Baz Luhrmann, there is a myriad of skills involved in filmmaking that are valuable in today’s workplace,” he said.

“A lot of companies these days are internalising social media content generation, for example – and there are so many other avenues these days for creative talent even in so-called traditional jobs.”

Participant Nick Carey, 13, said he learned a lot at the film workshop and was looking forward to creating something to show off at the festival.

“I had a really great time. I thought it was really good that we were able to do that without any cost, that was a great thing for Council to do,” Nick said.

“I learned a lot about production processes, such as how much planning and pre-production goes into a film, and editing was another thing Simon and Stacey put a lot of emphasis on.

“Simon and Stacey were really helpful – you didn’t really have to come in with prior knowledge.

“We made our own film at the end and everyone got to take shots or be cast members.”

Zosia Seikot-Avgoulas, 19, said it was great to get some first-hand lessons from two experienced filmmakers.

“It was also great to make a connection with young people who have the same interest as me,” Ms Seikot-Avgoulas said.

“I’ve got some great ideas and am fully inspired to get them off the ground.”

The participants are now planning to put together their own short film to be screened at the upcoming Cowtown Chow Down youth festival at Colley Park on Saturday 9 November.

What is Cow Town Chow Down?

Cow Town Chow Down is a festival run by youth, for youth, featuring live music and entertainment, market stalls and rides, cooking demonstrations, a cook-off competition, short film screenings, and a talent show.

Getting underway at 2pm, the event is a great chance to hang out with mates during a day of live music, food and unique market stalls.

Organiser Shannon Wheeler said the festival was all about providing avenues for young people to showcase what they were passionate about – food, craft, music and entertainment, or film.

“We’re trying to encourage anything and everything. We’re a small town but we want to give our young people as much opportunity as possible to showcase their talents,” Ms Wheeler said.

“The market stalls are free to run – we cover the insurance – so it’s up to our youth to come up with some great ideas to display and sell; to show off their talents by holding a stall.

“There is a cook-of competition hosted by Koori Cook Off, a talent show with some great prizes, as well as short film screenings, food stalls and rides.

“It’s giving our young people an opportunity to showcase something they’re passionate about, express themselves freely and have a great time.”

WHAT: Cow Town Chow Down youth festival
WHEN: 2pm, Saturday 9 November
WHERE: Colley Park, Casino

For further information about being a part of the event, contact Shannon Wheeler on 0468 968 566, or follow the Facebook page at

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