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Roll 'em! Family Film Making Workshop the perfect place for families to bond and make memories

April 20, 2012
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Families will have a chance to come together and work as a team to create a great short film during Fort Myers Beach's Family Film Making Workshop, Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to noon, at Bay Oaks Rec Center, 2731 Oak St. The family-fun workshop has been organized to correspond with the upcoming Fort Myers Beach Film Festival, which takes place next weekend, April 26 to 29.

Moms, dads and kids of all ages will be able to gather at the rec center to learn first-hand from local film-producers and movie-makers just what it takes to create their very own short film, which will then be shown on the big screen during the sixth annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival the following week.

Talent and submission coordinator of the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival and workshop coordinators Elizabeth D'Onofrio and John G. Heim will be leading the family-fun event, and proud to offer such a great artistic workshop for the local children.

Article Photos

Actress, producer and director Elizabeth D’Onofrio (above, in blue) will be teaching families how to write and shoot short films during the FMB Family Film Making Workshop Saturday. Elizabeth has starred with leading ladies such as Renee Zellweger (above, in black). And, island resident and film producer John Heim will be teaching the families how to edit their films.

"This Family Film Workshop is to provide an opportunity for families to truly work together as a family on a film that not only celebrates our youth's imagination, but creates self esteem to each child's thought process, upon creativity in itself," John said. "Our mission and emphasis is to lay the ground work for a child's pathway to follow throughout their interest in film-making. Each film truly represents each family's support to guide and follow a child's dream, which can then turn into reality for our youth."

The workshop will be split up into three sections one hour per section. During the first hour, long-time actress, writer and director Elizabeth will teach the families about writing short films, and help write their scripts.

During the second hour, families will "shoot" around the nearby area whether it be along the shore, in the sand, through the trees, or in the park.

Fact Box

FMB's Family Film Making Workshop

Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to noon

What: A family-fun experience, learning how to write, produce and edit short films

Where: Bay Oaks campus, 2731 Oak St., FMB

Cost: $20 per family

What to bring: A recording device, such as a cellphone, iPod, tablet or digital camera; your laptop equipped with editing software (most computers come equipped with the software, such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. If your laptop is not yet equipped with them, they are available online for free download. Each movie should also be burned on individual DVDs for the showing the following weekend

To register: Call 463-3600 or visit

Upon returning to campus during the third segment, John will teach the families how to edit their pieces and finalize their products.

"We will teach the kids and their families how to edit their short films. Then they'll go home and tweak them throughout the week, until we have the official showing during the Film Festival the following weekend, where they will provide us with a burned DVD of their final movie," Elizabeth said.

"For me, personally, there is nothing more true universally than a child's imagination, as we are only doing our part to enhance that truth through education, based on expression and free thought through film making," John, a father and film-maker, said. "Involvement with our children is a big part of the community, and working with our children is definitely a way to help create a better tomorrow for everyone."

The cost to attend the Family Film Making Workshop is $20 per family, and includes entrance into the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival's Kids Fest the following weekend, as well as entrance into the big-screen debut showing.

Families are responsible for providing the recording equipment whether it be on an cellphone, iPod, digital camera, tablet, etc., as well as bringing laptops equipped with editing software for the editing segment. Have no fear. Most laptops are already equipped with the editing applications, such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, or are available for free download on their official websites. Also don't forget to burn your family's movie(s) on a DVD one per disk for viewing during the official Film Festival.

"During the presentation of each film, I will personally take a moment for all in attendance to be introduced to each child and family of each film, explain what the film is about, and to pay the respect to each family involved in the Family Film Making workshop," John said.

Elizabeth is a real expert in the field, as she has acted, directed and produced several films, herself, over the years. Also, acting oozes through her family's pores, as her brother, Vincent D'Onofrio, continues to be a leading actor in several films and TV shows a couple of his crowning achievements being the lead antagonist in Men In Black (1997) and lead role in Law and Order: Criminal Intent, among several others, such as Full Metal Jacket (1987), Ed Wood (1994), Brooklyn's Finest (2009) and Kill the Irishman (2011) and many more.

John, himself, has been in the video and movie-editing arena for more than 20 years, educating himself through Full Sail Film School, working at NBC as a video editor for a while, and owns and runs Lowtide Films.

Last year, the film producer worked on a project called Skunk Ape, a comedy written by Dana Reed, loosely fit around the mysterious skunk ape. And, this year, he is entering his very own film titled "Satnam," an experimental film with hardly any dialogue.

"The attempt is based around telling a story of certain events that have affected our lives personally, and how we have chosen to react to those events our balance," the film-producer stated.

For further information, or to register your family in the Family Film Making Workshop, call Fish Tale Marina, 463-3600, or visit

"Personally, for me, to have the chance to work within this project enlightens me to prove that by working together now is in fact our quest for a better tomorrow for our future beautiful minds to enhance their vision through the arts," John concluded. "Please join us during this very special Family Film Making Workshop Saturday."

The Fort Myers Beach

Film Festival

The sixth annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival is returning to the island April 26 to 29, offering a four-day celebration that will provide movie-goers and flick fans the opportunity to see quality independent films and be a part of events designed to cultivate the spirit of visual creativity of cinema, all while harboring the talents of local and upcoming film makers.

The festival is expected to maintain the momentum of previous festivals. A call for entries was issued among the film industry at the beginning of the year and hundreds of films have already been submitted.

"We've received films from all over the country and the world, including Germany and Canada," said Mark List, chairman of the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival Board.

The overall festival pass is $150 and includes one ticket to all screenings at Beach Theater, a free film on the beach at Holiday Inn one evening, a Kids Film Fest at Bay Oaks, film maker workshops, a sunset cruise and an awards ceremony at Fish Tale Marina.

The Beach Film Fest is being sponsored by Beach Arts Co-operative, Beach Theater, Fish-Tale Marina, Friends of the Arts, Harbour House, Lovers Key Resort, Matanzas Inn Resort, Pink Shell Resort, Island Sand Paper and Sand Bash.

For more information about the sixth Fort Myers Beach Film Festival or to get your festival pass, contact the event staff via email at or call 463-3600 (ext. 242).



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