Students from Noatak and Kivalina spent a week in April learning filmmaking. They were taught by Kristian de Lispinois and Mick Pacifici from NANA’s Evergreen Studios, and Brice Habeger from Piksik, a NANA company.
Eighteen juniors and seniors traveled to Kotzebue as part of Northwest Arctic Borough School District’s ReadiSTAR program. Piksik and Evergreen worked with the students during one of their two-week stay.
“When we bring students in for two weeks, we are focusing on preparing students for life after high school,” said Zonda Martin, a secondary career and technical education Specialist with the School District, about the ReadiSTAR experience. “Giving the students the opportunity to work with industry professionals allows the students to explore occupations that a village school would not be able to offer.”
Students produced their own films. At the start of the week, students developed story ideas into a script. Then the students worked in groups as they acted, directed, and shot their films. All students undertook the final step of editing the group’s footage, as they produced their own version of the final short film.
“My favorite part of working on filming was editing the clips. It was fun seeing how all the work came together,” said Lynette “Maayuk” Adams, an 11th-grader from Kivalina, as she put the finishing touches on her film Living the Iñupiaq Values.
The week ended with a film festival at the new STAR dormitory. Sitting back in their chairs, the appreciative audience of students and professionals shared laughs, and bags of popcorn, as they watched their first experience in filmmaking with titles like "Empress Attack", "Ice Fishing on the Kotzebue Sound" and "Kung Fury."
Reflecting back on the week Habeger said, “Our favorite part is showing all the films, and listening to the audience having a good time. Sharing is what filmmaking is all about.”
Piksik, a subsidiary of NANA Development Corporation, is based in Anchorage. It provides support services to commercials, television shows, and feature films shooting in Alaska. Piksik recently announced a partnership with KTUU (an NBC-affiliated TV station serving Anchorage) to produce an Alaska-based docu-reality series for network television.
Evergreen Studios, based in Los Angeles, produces content and builds narrative worlds for theatrical, television, comics, web, mobile, and video game platforms. They produced the 20th Century Fox film "Walking with Dinosaurs 3D", a reboot of the BBC property. This is Piksik and Evergreen’s third year jointly funding a filmmaking workshop for students in the NANA Region.