The Kids Drama Camp run by Mount Carmel School’s Theatre Club concluded last week with a sold-out screening of a Star Wars Kids Fanfilm Festival at Hollywood Theaters. The festival featured three films that were shot and produced by kids in the camp: a mini-documentary “Star Wars: New Fans Awaken,” a Lego stop-animation film “Race to the Finish Line,” and a feature narrative “Star Wars: The Dream Awakens.”
The three films showcased the acting and filming talent of kids in the camp and incorporated lessons that they had learned throughout the camp. Since the camp started back in June, kids learned about the various aspects of theater and filmmaking, including storyboarding, cinematography, and editing. Students were also treated to a weeklong presentation on the Star Wars film franchise, and they watched Star Wars films and TV shows throughout the summer.
Kids in the camp were also guided and mentored by camp counselors drawn from the school’s Theatre Club. Since its inception in 1996, the Theatre Club has produced 40 productions, including numerous films, which helped camp counselors and their campers with the filmmaking process.
For these counselors, helping the kids learn and grow was extremely rewarding.
As camp leader Kristle Richardson put it, “As an aspiring filmmaker, I wish I had attended this camp as a kid.” She added, “This drama camp gave kids the opportunity to gain knowledge and hands-on experience with theater and film, as well as being exposed to movie classics, specifically, Star Wars.”
Fellow camp counselor and Star Wars aficionado, Justin Ocampo, felt the same. “I think the best part of it being a Star Wars camp was seeing the kids grow an interest in Star Wars in the same way I did around their age, and find their own certain personal connection to the characters. Whether it was Darth Vader or Princess Leia, everyone saw themselves or found their struggles relatable, and I thought that was amazing.”
Another camp counselor, Zeno Deleon Guerrero, echoed Ocampo’s sentiments. “One of the best parts about Drama Camp is seeing how these kids grow throughout the whole program. From the first day with most of them being shy and closed off to the last few days of almost uncontrollable energy. It was also heartwarming and heartbreaking to see a lot of them cry on that last day because some of us might not see each other again.”
In the end, though, the counselors also learned much from their kids. According to Richardson, “As much as the camp had a lot to offer, the kids were the ones that taught me so much about myself, what to expect in the future, and not only emphasized the meaning of passion, but showing me what it takes to have it. They’re such great people to have around, who were always looking forward to learning something new. It made me happy to watch their creativity bloom, humor show, and efforts matter to them.”
The Kids Drama Camp and the Star Wars Kids Fanfilm Festival were made possible by a grant from the CNMI Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Child Care and Development Fund Program.