Hundreds of teens from across the Midwest and beyond will travel to Chicago this summer for the opportunity of a lifetime -- working on a Hollywood film set. It's all part of Fresh Films, a filmmaking program that puts teens behind the camera -- and every other position of the film set.
Fresh Film's last movie, "The Stream," featured Hollywood stars, Mario Lopez and Rainn Wilson. Debuting in theaters in major cities across the U.S., the film showed off its teen filmmakers' work to people across the world (an impressive addition to any high-schooler's resume).
Now Fresh Films has started shooting its newest movie for kids, "Traveling Without Moving," a high-tech, science adventure film based on real quantum physics and the science of wormholes.
Filming began July 6 in Aurora with teens from Chicago Public Schools and Boys & Girls Clubs of Elgin kicking off the production week. In total, 300 teens will work on the set or in the edit bay learning the ins and outs of film production, and the many STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills that are needed for behind-the-scenes roles. Teens also learn teamwork, creative problem solving, responsibility, and leadership skills.
"Our goal is to inspire the teens' interest in many of the exciting, lesser-known tech and engineering career opportunities in film while they're on set," says Fresh Films director Estlin Feigley, "Most teens think 'director' or 'actor' when thinking about pursuing a film career. But after a week on set with us, many learn they have much more fun filling a role in one of the many engineering careers within the industry. Skywalker Sound, Industrial Light and Magic and Pixar are three brand-name Hollywood companies that employ thousands of engineers and tech experts as sound engineers, special effects engineers and more."
Twelve technology and media brands came together to help make Fresh Films possible as part of their commitments to supporting youth and their pursuit of career skills and STEM development.
Best Buy and Microsoft are excited to support digital learning through Fresh Films
Molex, Exelon & ITW are local Chicago science and tech companies supporting teen STEM learning through Fresh Films.
"Fresh Films is an innovative opportunity that connects teens to both technology and creativity. And as a company that celebrates innovation, we thought it was a perfect fit for our community support," states Brian Krause, vice president, global marketing and communications of Molex.
Aurora-based Dunham Fund's support allowed the film to be produced in Aurora with teens getting a college-campus experience staying and working on Aurora University's campus.
Tribeca Flashpoint College and Cinelease supplied all of the professional equipment for the Fresh Films set.
Other sponsors include Sun Times Foundation, Nicor Gas and Subway Restaurants.
Scientists from Adler Planetarium, University of Chicago and NASA helped make sure the film was scientifically accurate (for the most part), including Gerry Griffin, former director of the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston (who was also the technical director for "Apollo 13," directed by Ron Howard).
Teens looking for an opportunity to be part of Fresh Films can still apply for one of the remaining 30 available film-crew spots at www.fresh-films.com. There is no cost for to participate, and teens do not need any previous film experience. But hurry, applications are due Monday, July 20. Individual teens can apply, they don't have to be part of a group.
After production wraps, the feature-length film will be distributed in theatres starting next spring 2016, followed by DVD, digital and international. In another unique twist, 100 percent of proceeds from the film benefit youth charities and programs.
About the Film:
"Traveling Without Moving" is a science-adventure film about three teens whose science project unlocks the key to finding their missing parents! The science in the film is based on the quantum mechanics theory "Many Worlds," and also the science of wormholes.
About Fresh Films:
Fresh Films has been engaging youth behind the camera and creating youth-targeted TV shows, films and original content since 2002 -- all purposed to make a difference in young lives. Other recent productions include "The Stream," a coming-of-age family comedy created by teens, benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of America and featuring Mario Lopez ("Extra"), Kelly Rutherford ("Gossip Girl"), Christopher Gorham ("Covert Affairs") and Rainn Wilson ("Backstrom"); and "Moochie Kalala Detectives Club," a science TV show for kids. Fresh Films is the nonprofit arm of Dreaming Tree Films. More information at www.fresh-films.com.