Filmmaking class offered

Course on scripts, cinematography, editing, will cater to adults

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— When a small group of film lovers started the free Friday Film Series, they were taken aback by how much interest there was in Steamboat Springs. That is why two Los Angeles filmmakers who also are Steamboat residents decided to offer their knowledge in a fun 10-week course titled "The Language of Film."

"I think there are a lot of people in town who are really interested in film," film producer and instructor Dori Weiss said. "When I first went to Nancy Kramer (at the Steamboat Springs Arts Council) about teaching this class, she got very excited. I guess there has been talk in that crowd about wanting to provide something more in the film area."

Weiss teaches "Introduction to Film" at Colorado Mountain College, but wanted to provide a more casual class for adults.

"(Co-instructor Chris Nyby) and I really wanted to create a fun, grown-up night out," Weiss said. "There will be a catered intermission and beer and wine available. Chris and I are going to be telling anecdotes from our multifaceted careers and sharing things you could not necessarily share with young college students."

Students of "The Language of Film" will examine all aspects of filmmaking, from scripts to cinematography to editing and original scores. Each session will feature a different film, discussion and possible guest speakers.

"Chris and I have a tremendous number of connections to people in the film industry -- actors, cinematographers, composers and writers," Weiss said. "We could sort of grow this class any way we want to."

Weiss and Nyby are in the planning phase for the class content, but Weiss envisions exercises such as picking a book for the class to read.

"At the end of the course, after they have learned how to make a film, we would watch the adaptation and discuss why the director or the writer made certain decisions," she said.

Weiss lives in Steamboat full time after visiting on and off since 1985. She has worked in film for 25 years as a studio executive at Paramount and MGM. Weiss started the television division of Imagine Films with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, she said.

"When I started working in the film business, it was the beginning of careers for Steven Spiel-berg, George Lucas and Ron Howard. Film was really changing and becoming very expressive. It was also when Hollywood began to look toward young people for ideas," Weiss said.

But when Weiss made a choice to have children, "I wanted to live in a beautiful place that was great to raise children. I picked Steam-boat."

She stayed heavily involved in the film business, bringing her children to the sets.

That became less and less practical as her children grew older.

Nyby has kept a second home in Steamboat for many years, traveling between here and Los Angeles. He directed "Hill Street Blues" and "Moonlighting."

"He is now at a point in his life where he wants to spend more time here than in Los Angeles," Weiss said.

Weiss hopes for many things from the upcoming "The Language of Film" class. Not only does she want to provide a fun evening for people and a learning experience, but she imagines a core group of people will want to continue a film discussion group after the course ends.

"We are not going to repeat this class, but maybe we can move forward and study genres of film next time," she said. Weiss also envisions teaching a screenwriting class and would be willing to offer an in-depth class on filmmaking that would use the boxes and boxes of film material she has saved over the years.

"I saved everything," she said. "From the one-line idea to the first draft of the script to every cut of the film.

"That kind of a class would be for the serious minded or for someone with unbounded curiosity who wants to explore film from beginning to end."

-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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