BestFest Student Films Festival offers two free filmmaking workshops Sun., May 21, and Sun., June 4

BestFest Student Film Festival, a project of Best Video Film & Cultural Center, will offer a series of two unique workshops for local high school student filmmakers. Each workshop covers an important but often misunderstood aspect of capturing a scene, led by a local professional expert from the industry.
Under the heading “Lights!” and “Camera! Action!,” the workshops will be held at 3 PM on Sun., May 21 (Lights!), and Sun., June 4 (Camera! Action!).
Each workshop will last 60-90 minutes. They are free for high school students and reservations are highly recommended.
BestFest Student Film Festival showcases films by area high school students. The festival is open to all high school students from New Haven, Connecticut, and adjacent communities (East Haven, West Haven, Hamden, North Haven, Woodbridge, and Orange). The first BestFest was held on Dec. 10, 2016.

Rebecca Abbott, professor of communications and 2010 excellence in teaching honoree. September, 2010.

• “Lights!” (May 21, 3 PM): Rebecca Abbott will cover solving common lighting challenges for a location shoot, from traditional solutions to cheap tricks for fixing lighting problems. Learn about balancing daylight and interior light, filling in shadows, tackling power concerns, and more!

Rebecca Abbott is Professor of Communications at Quinnipiac University and an Emmy-award winning independent filmmaker. Abbott’s documentary subjects range from aeromedical rescue from mid-east war zones, to the history of jazz music in New Haven, to the impact of war on Veterans and the role of arts in healing. Ireland’s Great Hunger and The Irish Diaspora, narrated by actor Gabriel Byrne, is her latest film.
• “Camera! Action!” (June 4, 3 PM): Jay Miles will detail the traditional (and non-traditional!) strategies for where to place the camera in order to best cover a scene, and address the particular challenges of location shooting. Learn about shot selection, coverage, inserts, wilds and more! Miles will also touch on some of the key elements of directing actors. From rough rehearsal, to the rhythm of calling “rolling, action, cut,” to giving notes and making adjustments. Learn about all of these strategies and more!

Jay Miles

Jay Miles has worked in TV, video, film and commercial production for over 20 years, including shows for NBC, ABC, FOX, the Discovery Channel, HGTV, Versus and DirecTV. He has taught media at East Haven High School, as well as at Quinnipiac University, Fairfield University and the CT School of Broadcasting. He has contributed to such magazines/Websites as Film Threat, Moviemaker, and, as well as on panels at events including iTVFest, the annual UFVA conference and the All American High School Film Festival. His first book, “Conquering YouTube,” combines the professional and practical tips that he has used on major shoots with the approaches that he employs to help numerous beginners reach for the stars with their own successful projects.

For more information, call (203) 287-9286 or email BestFest Student Films at BestFest Student Films can also be contacted through Twitter at @BestFestFilms. Information is also available at

New Haven Independent reports on BestFest Student Films workshop “The Nuts & Bolts of How to Make a Movie”

Reporter Tom Breen of the New Haven Independent attended last Tuesday’s free workshop on filmmaking and wrote up a great report for the online journalism site, “Local Filmmakers Prepare Students For Fall Film Festival”:

Now that Best Video has successfully transitioned into its status as a non-profit, the Hamden-based video rental store/cafe/performance venue is looking to bolster its value as a practical and educational resource for young filmmakers in the community. The first major initiative that they’re taking to help realize that mission is through the BestFest Student Film Festival, which will offer a venue for high school students from New Haven, East Haven, West Haven, Hamden, North Haven, Woodbridge, and Orange to submit and present their work.

Tuesday night’s session, which ran from 7 to just after 9 p.m., was the first step in preparing student filmmakers for that festival, bringing together a handful of experts to share tips, best practices, and a wealth of personal and professional anecdotes.

Thanks to Tom Breen for covering this inaugural event for BestFest Student Films. And thanks to our presenters filmmaker Gorman Bechard, Jay Miles (East Haven High School), Robb Blocker (Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School), Rebecca Abbott (documentarian and professor at Quinnipiac University) and Caden Rodems-Boyd (student filmmaker, Educational Center for the Arts).

Presenters Robb Blocker (Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School) and Caden Rodems-Boyd (a student filmmaker in the visual arts program at Educational Center for the Arts). Tom Breen Photo

Presenters Robb Blocker (Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School) and Caden Rodems-Boyd (a student filmmaker in the visual arts program at Educational Center for the Arts). Tom Breen Photo

Read the complete article here.

BVFCC announces BestFest Student Films festival for fall; workshop for aspiring student filmmakers Tues., June 28, 7—9 PM

BestFest_student_workshop_flyer_WebBest Video Film & Cultural Center (BVFCC), a cultural nonprofit based in Hamden, announces the creation of BestFest Student Films, a new film festival to showcase work by area high school students. The festival will be open to all high school students from New Haven and adjacent communities (East Haven, West Haven, Hamden, North Haven, Woodbridge, and Orange).

“With the widespread availability of video technology and editing software, movie-making has become an accessible option for young people. We want to encourage student creativity by offering a forum for the screening and recognition of their work,” said Hank Hoffman, BVFCC Program Director.

Beyond presenting students’ films, the festival will serve as an educational resource for student filmmakers. The steering committee plans to assemble a group of expert volunteers—including film industry veterans and educators—to mentor and coach students who seek advice on issues ranging from screenwriting to audio engineering, film financing to editing.

As preparation for the festival, BVFCC will host a session titled “The Nuts and Bolts of Making a Movie” on Tuesday, June 28, from 7-9 PM. Experienced filmmakers will be available to explain the step-by-step process of creating a movie. Among the topics covered will be pre-production solutions, the under-appreciated importance of good sound, and how to get a gorgeous shot with just one light. The second half of the session will consist of a hands-on exercise in shooting a scene, based on an existing short film.

Submissions to BestFest Student Films will be accepted through late October with the festival taking place in early November. Entry is free, and students should submit films through

“We know you have film ideas—now it’s time to make it,” said Caden Rodems-Boyd, a student filmmaker who attends Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven.

For more information as this festival is developed please visit