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Work behind the Lens | Summer Camp Reflection


My name is Layla Isaacs. For me, I’m more of the sporty and casual type of girl who doesn’t get anywhere out of her comfort zone. No new experiences whatsoever, just a simple life with nothing more than school, family and some sports. I recently just started my internship program with the QLCC organization for Native Hawaiian teens. They assigned us to our job sites and my site so happened to be at a place where I had never heard of, which was known as “Hawaii’s Women in Filmmaking”. I barely had any experience with using an actual camera, well maybe my phone, but when it came to all that high tech type of cameras, I wasn’t ready for anything at this site. This site came along with a lovely woman by the name of Vera Zambonelli. She came to me with open arms as I actually got to meet with her. She mentioned about a camp that was going to take place the following week called “Summer Reel Camp for Girls” and asked if I wanted to become a participant, which so I agreed.

When the first day of camp came, I was late as usual, not really feeling like I should encounter anyone at that very moment. I remember walking in and a young lady, Gabby, gave me a notebook and a nametag. I open the curtain to see a room with chairs in a circle position and a bunch of unfamiliar faces staring at me. Vera, with her outgoing spirit, welcomes me in. I try to not make a fool out of myself, so I walked towards the seat next to her and gradually took my seat. We first did some icebreakers and such. I kept thinking to myself, “what did you get yourself into?” This week was going to be the longest week of my life.

The next day arrives, and so far we are in groups of 3, except for my group in which was made up of 4 girls. I look around to see that my teammates are younger than I am and I felt so out of place. They seem to have known each other from the previous camps and for me, a “newbie” I wasn’t so good with making friends. Our mentor, Sam came to our table, and she says “Okay guys, so what’s our group name?” I slammed the table and said “Trap Queens.” That’s how it all started. We started to come up with ideas for our film, a suspenseful film involving a young girl who is destined to find herself before she loses it completely. This is relevant to all girls that struggle with trying so hard to find out who they are with so much criticism in the world. Especially for girls our age, the world seems to bash on every little thing that makes us not so perfect instead of being acknowledged for being different individuals that have something special about themselves. My job was to do lighting. Now, I know I had no idea how to work it at all but with the help of my teammates, it was a success. When we had to show our work to the whole camp, One of the mentors told me that the lighting was magnificent. I was shocked myself. Being able to do something perfectly that you had no idea of doing before, makes you feel like anything is possible.

When it came to the showcase, I brought my mom and my sister. My mom, being the hugest support system for my family, was quite excited to see it as well. When we seem the final product, I thought it was perfect. The film made one of the audience scared as if it were an actual movie film. I was so proud of my group. This camp made me realize that expressing yourself can come through in many ways. One way is through film. The art of it just captures the audience and relating to it as well. Making this film, had its’ challenges. It was hard working in a hot and isolated environment but the crew went through the process and manage to make a wonderful film. I honestly thought this camp would be boring or not my style, but I met a bunch of weird unusual folks that made this camp the best camp that I have ever attended. I would recommend any young women to come and participate in such a awesome experience with other girls to share their stories to the world. And that is what happened behind the lens.

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Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking

We are a 501.c.3 non profit organization

EIN 46-3144513

1050 Queen Street #100

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96814

aloha@hawaiiwomeninfilmmaking.org