Middle schoolers run the show at The Picture House filmmaking camp in Bronxville

Monday, August 7, 2023
Middle schoolers run the show at The Picture House filmmaking camp
Citizens who saved an old movie house in their town have expanded to running a camp for middle schoolers in Bronxville. Sandy Kenyon has the story.

BRONXVILLE, Westchester County (WABC) -- We have an update on a story we first brought you more than a dozen years ago. It's the story of a group of citizens in Pelham who banded together to save an old movie house in their town.

The Picture House has prospered and those in charge have expanded to nearby Bronxville, where the non-profit group is staging a camp to teach middle schoolers all about filmmaking.

The theater is quiet after the moviegoers have left, but inside kids are learning how to make movies.

"I love seeing like how much progress I've done in just four days, and of course, I'm not like a professional or anything, but I just love seeing how much I've learned," said Joaquin Blanco, a camper.

Joaquin is learning about green screen technology: pretending to be in free fall. Add a digital background and it looks pretty real!

"I hope that next year if I get assigned the movie project in my tech class. I'll be able to make it look better than I did the last time," said Jasmine Francis, a camper.

Jasmine is the director of the short film. Jeffrey Cobelli is the professional teaching these middle schoolers.

"When I was a kid, I didn't have access to this so to be able to give this back to allow them to have access and to open their eyes to say, 'I can do something like this as well,' is so gratifying," he said.

Cobelli is hired by The Picture House, a non-profit group best known for restoring an old theater in Pelham, and we were there 11 years ago when it reopened.

Since then, the organization has since taken over a commercial theater in Bronxville, the site of classes like this one.

"Would you recommend this program you've had this week to a friend?" Sandy Kenyon asked.

"Definitely! It's very fun. You get to learn a lot. You get to make new friends. It's awesome. It's just great!" said Tullin Swirski, a camper.

Tullin plays the bad guy, who is actually a robot.

"The best thing with working with kids is watching their progress between day one until now. So, day one either they're shy. They're nervous. They're afraid to talk to each other. They're nervous about holding the camera. By now

They're running the whole show. That's, that's the best part about the week," Cobelli said.


* More Northern Suburbs news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.