2013-02-22 / Community

RWA Students Film Rockaway Stories: Lessons Learned From Sandy


Matthew Septimus goes over the filmaker’s basic tool, the camera, with RWA students. Matthew Septimus goes over the filmaker’s basic tool, the camera, with RWA students. Over the past few months students in the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance’s Shore Corps program have been working on a documentary film project called Rockaway Stories: Lessons Learned From Storm Sandy.

Students there have had the good fortune to work with professional filmmakers, photographers and writers to learn how to put their own stories down on paper and develop films using their own photography and video footage.

The project has been spearheaded by Cynthia Carrion, who was born and raised in Bayswater. Carrion presently works for UNICEF, but has worked on creating media channels for other youth organizations in the past. Here she wanted to bring her knowledge back to the Rockaways to work with RWA students on filming their own work and document their own stories related to recovery efforts in the Rockaways.


Students get hands-on experience videotaping interviews. Students get hands-on experience videotaping interviews. The project has attracted many well established professionals to work with the students as mentors. Amy Sultan, director of the Power Writers Program for youth has been working with the students to put their ideas down on paper and develop their stories through filmmaking.

Photographers Matthew Septimus and Marcus Burnett have been helping students learn how to shoot different kinds of photography and video. Editor Nick Nehez has been editing their work each week and working on developing the final documentary which will be completed in April.

The project has been invaluable to RWA as it is teaching local youth filmmaking skills but also the value of developing their own writing and filmmaking.

According to RWA the process itself has been a great way to engage local students in learning to use different tools and mediums to advocate for their community.


Nick Nehez teaches how to set up the sound equipment. Nick Nehez teaches how to set up the sound equipment. Says RWA, ‘Stay tuned for the final film presentation in April.’

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