OUCARES hosts short film camp in Pawley Hall

For two weeks in late August, a group of students had the chance to learn the secrets of film from a Hollywood director.

The OUCARES short film camp took place from Aug. 16-27 in Oakland University’s Pawley Hall. The camp, in its fifth year, is led by actor and director Joey Travolta and is geared towards students who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

A majority of the camp’s 50 participants have been diagnosed with a form of autism, according to OUCARES program coordinator Val Yaros. Students were also allowed to bring a peer or sibling.

Yaros said that the students started each day with instruction in a different aspect of how to make a film. Topics for this year’s camp included acting, editing, directing and budgeting. Students then created their own five-minute short films dealing with the theme, “Friday night at the movies,” and had their peers critique them.

Wendy Skelly, whose son was one of the camp’s participants, was one of about 30 people who volunteered to help with the camp.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids with autism to come together with kids similar to them, with similar needs, and they get an opportunity to learn about film,” Skelly said. “They all love it. They all love the opportunity to get in front of the camera.”

Yaros said that Travolta will take the footage that the students shot and edit it into a film which will be shown at an October premiere.

“The beginning of the film is just footage of the camp, everything that goes on with the camp, how it runs, so that the families can see what goes on while the kids are here,” Skelly said. “Then at the very end they show the film that the kids put together.”

This year’s premiere will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 16 in the Oakland Center. The event is open to the public, and tickets are $25. To purchase tickets, visit the OUCARES store at www.oakland.edu/oucaresstore.