Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
Hollywood film director Joey
Travolta, the older brother of famous actor John Travolta, returns this summer
to the University
of North Florida to
utilize his movie-making expertise to conduct a film camp that lets kids on the
autism spectrum learn side-by-side with siblings and peers.
The two-week HEAL Film Camp, in
collaboration with UNF’s College of Education and Human Services, is sponsored
by the HEAL Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Ponte Vedra Beach
dedicated to supporting the families of children diagnosed with autism, and is
being produced by FilmLab Productions. The camp will be held at UNF’s Student
Union Monday, June 21, through Friday, July 2.
About 50 campers, ages 10 to 17, will write, direct,
act, film and edit a 30-minute short film, which documents the kids’ day-to-day
experiences during the camp and includes the making of a spoof based on a
“Siskel & Ebert”-styled television show. Enrollment for the HEAL Film Camp
is by nomination only. Nomination packets are available to educators and
therapists in Duval and St. Johns
counties. The 2010 presenting sponsor, MDI Holdings Inc. of Ponte Vedra, has
made it possible for the camp to be offered at no charge.
Travolta worked as a special needs
teacher in New Jersey before embarking on his successful film career, which
includes numerous motion pictures and television shows including “Mel,”
“Beverly Hills Cop 3,” “L.A. Heat,” and “Dumb Luck In Vegas,” among many
others. “The HEAL Film Camp will give children with autism a forum to have a
voice,” he said. “Filmmaking is a very empowering experience, and the camp will
give these kids the invaluable opportunity to not only learn filmmaking skills,
but also create art alongside typical children.”
Travolta’s crew of 11 producers, editors and
directors will teach campers every aspect of the filmmaking art, from acting
and storyboarding to blue screen effects and final editing, working in
collaboration with Atlantic Beach-based FILMLAB Productions, who will provide
creative and production services. The documentary film will incorporate
interviews with children, parents and autism specialists, providing not only
informative insight into autism, but a fun, interactive, educational experience
for both autistic and typical peers participating in the camp.
When the film is complete, it will be used as a
learning tool to help parents/care givers, educators, physicians,
psychologists, special needs administrators and others more fully understand
autism from the unique perspective of those affected by it. Campers will also
produce a public service announcement to be distributed nationally to schools
in order to generate more awareness about autism.
For more information about the HEAL Film Camp,
contact FilmLab producer Karen Sadler at (904) 249-9333 or at www.filmlabproductions.com.
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