Maine Student Film & Video Conference


We’re back for Year 2!

March 30, 2019
Mid-Maine Technical Center, Waterville

Watch for registration details.

The second annual Maine Student Film & Video Conference is a full-day event that will offer a slate of hands-on workshops for middle and high school students in narrative and documentary filmmaking, broadcasting, photography, and a variety of technical production skills. Educators will have access to professional workshops and presentations focused on teaching and learning with film in the classroom. Experts in these fields from across the state of Maine will work with small groups to provide individualized instruction. Attendance and participation in the conference is free, and registration is limited to 200 students and 50 educators.

Colleges, universities, working filmmakers, and professionals in the digital arts will be in attendance and lead all workshops. Lunch will be provided, and prizes will be drawn at the end of the day.

Stay tuned for more information!


The Workshops

For Students:


Shooting With Drones for TV and the Web

With Brian Bechard

Get the basics of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle laws and best practices for using aerial systems for photography and video. You'll review some drone reels and learn how different techniques impact the viewer. Some students will get a hands on experience with a drone, including piloting a brief flight and recording footage.

"Fight", Camera, Action...

With Chris Davis

This session will provide you with tips and tricks of blocking and safely filming a fight scene.  We'll discuss and demonstrate camera angles and placement as well as how to throw and take a punch without ever making contact. Additionally, we'll go over the importance of audio, including sound effects and "grunt" passes. No actors will be harmed in the filming of these scenes.

2D Digital Animation

With Brandon Soards

Learn how to use Adobe Animate and alternative free software to create animations akin to classic Disney and Studio Ghibli films. Students will create frame-by-frame animations and learn the once secretive technique known as rotoscoping.


3D Animation

With Brandon Soards

Learn the basics of 3D Animation using Cinema4D, most known for its use in broadcast motion graphics such as with Fox, CBS, BBC and Marvel. Students will get a crash course in basic modeling, texturing, lighting, and rendering. They can then apply these same concepts to free alternative software for their at-home studies.

Stop Motion

With Brandon Soards

Learn how to create stop-motion or claymation films using Dragon Frame, the industry standard used by Aardman to create Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run. The group will work together together to craft the characters and animate them in a short film.

3,2,1 Cue

With Shannon Moss

In a fun, laid back environment we’ll talk tips and techniques that will give you the skills needed to be ready to work in front of the camera! Being a natural on camera can be learned. It takes hands on experience aimed to build confidence and wow your audience.


Elements of Soundtrack

With Nancy Andrews

Soundtracks are comprised of three parts: dialogue, sound effects and music. In this workshop we will learn how soundtracks are constructed and practice some sound effects techniques in a specially-crafted, on-location scene.

The Art of Storytelling

With PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs reaches thousands of teachers and students every year through its original youth journalism program, which connects young people to public media stations and mentors across the country. In this session, you will learn how to identify the essential elements for developing a story structure that is driven by strong characters, emotion, compelling visuals and natural sound. You will also be given practical tools grounded in project based learning to help build confidence and critical thinking skills through the art of storytelling.

Motion Graphics with After Effects

With Rebecca Conley

Adobe’s After Effects motion graphics software is the next step once you’ve got the basic of editing down, and you’ll learn how to make type, images and graphics come to life for the opening credits of that next film project you’ve got planned.


Editing 101 with Adobe Premiere CC

With Rebecca Conley

Get the basics of editing with pro-level software. Whether you find free software online or go with a more sophisticated option, this session will get you rolling in moving your work from camera to screen.

The Art of the Kill

With Corey Norman

Students will learn to dissect several famous kills from popular horror films. You'll learn how to sequence shots to help "sell" the kills on screen, before re-creating a kill or two in our session.

Being Young in the Film Industry

With Jack Rohner

Getting started in the film industry isn’t like applying for a job in most traditional industries. Jack Rohner has worked for organizations like the United Nations, The Boston Red Sox, Nike and more, and he’ll lead this conversation on how you can get your start working with cameras and more.


Grip 101

With Jack Rohner

What's a C-stand and why is it so important? How can we use it safely and to help us spark creativity while making money? You'll get a chance to learn the basics of being useful, efficient, and staying out of trouble on set.

Location Sound for Film/TV

With Justin LaCroix

Learn to capture quality sound for video through location planning, boom operating and recording techniques. We will be using boom mics to follow dialogue in a reality scenario and also learn how to hide a lavalier mic properly. Syncing sound with video and set etiquette will also be discussed.

Film Festival 101

With James Harmon II

Take a look at some of the best entries from Maine's student film festivals, and get charged up with an idea for a film that you can shoot and enter in a festival in Maine. You'll leave with ideas, and some ways to overcome the challenges that await.


Live Truck Production

With Nick Godfrey

Learn about live TV production from Maine Public’s remote truck. We’ll talk about live events from setting up the equipment to going over what it’s like during a live production inside the truck.

Cinematography: Moving Cameras For Emotion

With Dean Merrill

In this double session, you’ll learn how to set, light, and shoot multiple perspectives in a cinematic scene, moving cameras for effect, emotion, and story.

Making the Camera Work for You

With Brett Plymale

Learn how camera movements can create the feel and set the tone of your cinematic and documentary projects. We’ll be using a dolly, slider and jib to capture directed scenes as well as learning effective handheld techniques for getting the most out of a live action setting.


You Finished Your Screenplay, Now What?

With Ana Foy

The script can provide invaluable practical information for all craftspeople working on a film. This workshop will provide an overview of the script breakdown and scheduling process, focusing on visual storytelling, shot sizes and angles, planning for camera movement, and shooting for the edit. Students will shoot short scenes utilizing different types of scene coverage and in-camera editing.

75 Minute Film School

With Matt Siegel & Neil Shelley

Get the basics from two industry professionals from running cameras to bringing your work to a final edit. You'll get the rundown on the technical side and hear from industry professionals with experience working for clients as diverse as the U.S. Army, Nat Geo, Discovery and more.

Capturing Authenticity

With Kaitlin Mullen

Explore the concept of lifestyle photography and photojournalism, the art of working with what's organically in front of you in a non-disruptive way. You'll be shooting for much of this session, so bring come ready to learn and shoot.


Making Documentary Film Exciting

With Eric Axelman

Learn to set up shots and lighting for interviews to make the content as visually appealing and exciting as possible. Documentary film is an incredibly important and powerful medium, but can often seem boring or visually plain when compared to feature films. Figuring out how to pack a punch visually is critically important for reaching an audience, and we'll work with multiple cameras, gear, and complex lighting. 

On-Camera Performance for Beginners

With Kate Kaminski & Betsy Carson

Acting and performing for the camera — though similar to theater — is distinctive in approach and preparation. This interactive class offers budding actors the experience of learning some specialized techniques required for in-camera acting, including learning about the calibrated relationship between the camera and the actor’s performance. Workshop participants will have an opportunity to practice basic techniques (such as blocking and movement) and learn strategies for cold reading and audition techniques. You'll walk away with increased confidence and a basis of knowledge to pursue additional experience.

Inspiration to Interview: Producing the Documentary

With Erin Murphy

Students will learn how to find a potential documentary subject, plan and schedule an interview, and how to shoot that interview. Students will practice using cameras, working with natural light, and recording sound.


Shooting the News

With Chad Diamond

Newscasts constantly rely on the on-location, live shot that features a reporter guiding viewers through the story. You'll work in teams with cameras and mics and learn how to get the shot and make your work look professional.

The BBC’s Five-Shot Rule

With Niko Hample

Shoot video the way pros do from Britain’s top broadcast service. You’ll have your hands on cameras as you put this professional technique into practice.

Basic Lighting Concepts

With Nick Woodward

Learn how to be the master of light and darkness. Proper lighting can help tell your story, guide what catches the viewer’s attention and set a mood. This course will show you the basics of lighting, how lighting affects your camera and how you can steer the viewer’s emotional connection.


DIY Filmmaking

With Henry Spritz

This workshop breaks down the notion that beginner filmmakers need money, equipment and years of experience in order to tell the stories they feel passionate about. The workshop will also focus on the importance of trusting your emotions and instincts rather than rules or formulas. There will be a discussion as well as an activity that will require students to be resourceful and inventive in order to figure out how they could film a movie that normally would be impossible to make with zero budget.

Sound > Picture in Documentary Film

With Caroline LosnecK and christoph gelfand

In documentaries, audio is often more important than visuals in giving mood, meaning and texture to a story. In this workshop, we will listen to examples that make effective use of sound effects, voice-over/narration, as well as music. There will be a short demonstration of microphone patterns, recording techniques, as well as documentary interview strategies for beginners, followed by a Q&A.

Makeup and Special Effects

with Haley Norman

Learn what it takes to make the fake look real in this hands-on session designed to help you uncover what's behind the gore that happens when things go wrong for some characters finding themselves on the wrong end of very, very, sharp objects.

For Educators:

Ideas for the Digital Media Classroom

With Chris Davis

This session is designed to provide you with a variety of video based projects and ideas that you can use in your own classroom.  Project ideas, lesson plans, resources for royalty free audio, unique (and inexpensive) equipment as well as tips and tricks.

Beyond the Screenplay

With Mark Melnicove

It’s one thing to teach students how to write a screenplay and/or make a film; it’s another to create a classroom climate that promotes shared purpose, insightful feedback, and teamwork. In this interactive workshop, Falmouth High School teacher Mark Melnicove will share some of the strategies he has used to empower his students to make their screenwriting and filmmaking meaningful, not only for the sake of their writing and films, but also their lives. Some examples of his students' screenwriting and filmmaking will be shown and discussed.

The Art of Storytelling

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs reaches thousands of teachers and students every year through its original youth journalism program, which connects young people to public media stations and mentors across the country. In this session, you will learn how to identify the essential elements for developing a story structure that is driven by strong characters, emotion, compelling visuals and natural sound. You will also be given practical tools grounded in project based learning to help build confidence and critical thinking skills through the art of storytelling.


Teaching Documentary Production

With Erin Murphy

This workshop will cover the basics of creating and implementing documentary assignments that will get your students out of the classroom and into the field. We will go over a handful of different video possibilities, as well as in-class exercises that will prepare your students to conceptualize, shoot, and edit their videos. 

Responding to Student Films

With Corey Norman

In the field of video production, teachers must assess their students on not only the technical side of video production, but only on the creative side as well. This workshop will explore a variety of rubrics to better help educators clearly define the perimeters for a successful project.

The Experts


Brian Bechard is an Emmy winning videographer/editor and an 18-year veteran of the video production industry. As an early adopter of UAV technology, Brian began to use the unique perspective of drone footage to enhance his work as a videographer and has since become an licensed FAA commercial drone operator. See examples of Brian's work at

Chris Davis has been teaching digital media to high school students for the past 19 years. He's worked with students in the operation of a government/educational television station in Augusta, focusing on live multi-camera productions. He currently teaches at the Foster CTE Center in Farmington, where the students focus on the art of offsite and location filmmaking.

Brandon Soards is the Design/Technology Instructor at the Mid-Coast School of Technology in Rockland and Animation Instructor at Maine Media Workshops + College in Rockport. His business, Rubicon Edge Design, has specialized in providing multimedia for nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Coast region for 15 years, in which he has created 2D Motion, Frame-by-Frame, Stop-Motion, and 3D Animations.

Shannon Moss is an award-winning media personality in Maine and the host of High School Quiz Show: Maine, airing across the state on Maine Public Television each winter. Shannon is no stranger to Maine’s airwaves, having spent over 14 years as an anchor and reporter in the competitive Portland commercial news market.

Nancy Andrews makes intuitive, idiosyncratic, hybrid films, rendered with characteristic humor and inhabited by characters who are at times visionary, but always social misfits. She also creates drawings, comics, music, and performance art. The Museum of Modern Art has collected six of her short films, and her work is in the collections of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bibliotheque Nationale-Paris, and Franklin Furnace Archives. She is a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in filmmaking (2008). Her films have screened at MoMA, Pacific Film Archive, Anthology Film Archive, Jerusalem Film Festival, Flaherty Seminars, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Taiwan International Animation Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, among others.

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs
SRL Director Elis Estrada oversees the development, work and content of SRL’s growing national network of schools and partner public media stations. Elis works with her team to create journalism and video production resources for teachers and students to tell important and impactful stories in their communities. Yearly, participating students produce anywhere from 100-200 videos that demonstrate the power of youth media and student voice. Currently, SRL is in over 125 schools across 40 states. Through her work at PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, Kristy Choi, SRL Production Assistant, teaches high school students across the country how to produce video journalism. She believes video production gives young people the ability to empower themselves and tell the stories that are most important to them. Outside of work, Kristy is in the process of developing her first narrative short, which she hopes to shoot this year.

Rebecca Conley has over 20 years of experience in graphics, video production, photography, and editing. As digital graphics producer for Maine Public, she produces content for television, print and online.

Corey Norman is an internationally distributed, award winning horror filmmaker, and a faculty member in the Communications and New Media Department at Southern Maine Community College, where he has been teaching for eight years. He's known for his films The Hanover House, Charlotte, The Invoking 2, The Witching, Monsterland, Tickle and Suffer the Little Children.

Jack Rohner's name comes up all over the place when people in Maine are talking about up-and-coming filmmakers. An MMTC alumni, he's finding the world of film/video production to be the best way to travel all around the country, working for organizations such as Samsung, Nike, The United Nations, The Boston Red Sox, New Balance, Bank of America, and so many more.

Justin LaCroix is a professional sound mixer and recordist for documentary film, reality TV, narrative film and commercials. He has traveled the world from Cambodia to remote Fiji, all across Europe and throughout New England working with National Geographic, VICE, CBS, HBO, HGTV and Survivor, to name a few, on sets both big and small.

James Harmon II teaches video production at Sanford Regional Career and Technical Education Center. He is the founder of the Sanford Film Festival, an event that draws more than 2,000 submissions each year, and coordinates the SkillsUSA Maine Digital Cinema contest.

Nick Godfrey is a graduate of Gardiner Area High School and New England School of Communications at Husson University. He is a Media Services Producer at Maine Public. He directs High School Quiz Show: Maine, High School Basketball Championship Weekend, and various other live remotes for state wide broadcast.

Cinematographer Dean Merrill is the owner of Swallowtail Media in Portland. He has worked with international brands and studios such as National Geographic, The History Channel, ABC, L.L. Bean, Timberland, LoJack, Chase Manhattan, Hewlett Packard, and has been featured in Filmmaker, Indiewire, MovieMaker, The New York Times, and National Public Radio (NPR).

Brett Plymale is the owner and operator of Plymale Productions, a production company based in Portland, Maine. He was worked for 20 years in the field of film and video production. He began his career as a photojournalist for WGME, a CBS affiliate, and has gone on to serve as Director of Photography on various projects for HGTV, CNBC, Outside TV, Discovery, CSPAN, MPBN and many others.

Ana Foy has numerous professional credits on narrative short and feature films; short and long form documentary projects; scripted and reality television series; music videos; commercials; and corporate and industrial videos in the camera and lighting departments. Since 2010 she has served on the faculty of Maine Media Workshops + College. She has taught cinematography, film production and film history in the school's Filmmaking Professional Certificate Program.

Matt Siegel is a director of photography with credits including commercial clients Sony, Toyota, Audi, Nike, Adidas and Coca-Cola. He has worked on films including Master and Commander, The Matrix Reloaded, My Big Bollywood Wedding, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and others. He has also worked on series including The Mentalist, Everwood, and Just Legal. Matt's most recent publication is An Introduction to Digital Cinematography.

Neil Shelley is a professional film editor, motion graphic artist, drone pilot, and camera operator. In addition to working for clients around the country, he teaches at the University of Maine's New Media program and at Maine Media Workshops + College.

Kaitlin Mullen is a self-taught professional photographer who specializes in portraits of people doing things they love. Her company, She's A Teacher Photography, works with clients throughout Maine, and in case you didn't figure it out, she's a also a middle school teacher in Gardiner.

Eric Axelman is a documentary filmmaker and educator currently directing the film Israelism, about the American Jewish relationship to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which features interviews with Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Issa Amro, and many more. A native of central Maine, Eric has done multiple filming trips to the Middle East, and has been making documentary films since he was a middle schooler in Skowhegan.

Kate Kaminski is a writer-director and independent filmmaker living and working in Southern Maine. As Gitgo Productions, she and partner Betsy Carson have together produced four low-budget features, as well as numerous short fiction and non-fiction works that have screened around the world. As a filmmaker, educator, and artist, Kaminski is committed to collaboration and challenging the cookie cutter approach of the cinematic mainstream. In 2010, she founded the Bluestocking Film Series, a curated short film festival that works to amplify women's voices and stories and focuses on female representation on screen. Kaminski teaches part-time at University of Southern Maine and Maine College of Art.

Betsy Carson holds an MFA in Filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is the owner of All Art Media, an independent production company located in Southern Maine, specializing in promoting social justice through food politics. She’s the producer of Delicious TV’s Vegan Mashup and Delicious TV's Totally Vegetarian (both broadcast on public television), award-nominated Top 10 iTunes food podcast, VegEZ, and award-nominated Vegan Hotspot (video podcast) with episodes featuring celebrity guests like Robin Quivers, Moby, and Heather Mills, among others. With partner Kate Kaminski, as the creative team Gitgo Productions, she co-produces and shoots a variety of narrative and documentary projects.

Erin Murphy is a documentary filmmaker and instructor at Colby College. She is in the middle of production on a feature-length documentary, WAZO:IDEA. The film follows Kesho Wazo, an art and activist collective started and run by high school and college students.

Chad Diamond has been a videographer for WMTW and Maine Public Television, shooting documentaries, live production, and public affairs programing. He's now a daily news photographer.

Nikko Hample is the founder of Knowmadic Photography, and works with still images and video to provide organizations with an approach to telling their story visually.

Nick Woodward is the Television Production Manager for Maine Public Television. In his 30+ year career, he has shot scores of documentaries and television shows, hundreds of interviews and travelled to every corner of the state. Currently, he is the producer and editor for High School Quiz Show: Maine. He has won numerous awards including two New England Emmys and has extensive experience in both field and studio lighting.

Henry Spritz is a filmmaker and high school student from Portland, Maine. Henry has been making films for several years and his short film, "Oldtown," was a national finalist in the YoungArts competition this year.

Caroline Losneck is a Portland, Maine based documentarian, radio producer, and filmmaker who considers a microphone a pretty great way to learn about people and their lives. Christoph Gelfand is a Portland, Maine-based filmmaker, photographer, and sound mixer. His ears have been his business for a long time and he appreciates great sound in every artistic medium. Gelfand and Losneck have collaborated on films that have appeared in The New York Times, at film festivals around the country, and in museums.

Chris Davis has been teaching digital media to high school students for the past 19 years. He's worked with students in the operation of a government/educational television station in Augusta, focusing on live multi-camera productions. He currently teaches at the Foster CTE Center in Farmington, where the students focus on the art of offsite and location filmmaking.

Mark Melnicove teaches “Screenwriting and Film Production,” a course at Falmouth High School where students write screenplays and make films of them. At the end of the academic year, many of these films are shown at the school’s student film festival, The Anchors. Melnicove’s film credits include Joy Glows Where Confusion Was, a film about Maine poet, publisher, and scientist Bern Porter that was created for Porter’s 2010 Museum of Modern Art exhibition.