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Introduction to Short-Form Narrative Filmmaking

Starts June 5

(For 55+ Adults)
9 sessions: Wednesdays, June 5-August 7 (no class July 3), 6:30-9:30pm
Culminating Screening Event: Wednesday, August 21, 7-9pm

Price: $25 (will be waived for those who can’t pay, no questions asked; contact FilmNorth’s Education Director to register)

Want to learn the craft of visual storytelling through making a short fiction film? Working in groups of 3-4, student teams will create short films from idea to final edit. No prior experience necessary! You just need curiosity, openness to sharing ideas, and an adventurous spirit excited to work in small groups to tell a story visually.

The class is taught by award-winning filmmaker Barbara Wiener, who will teach you the film language of camera angles and shots, music, and story, and sharing ideas with others in a safe, guided environment, bringing out the hidden artist in each student.

The class will be held at FilmNorth, which provides equipment, an editing lab, and a warm, unique ambiance that inspires creativity. Participants will engage in hands-on activities to learn how to write a script, operate a camera and work with audio and lighting equipment, and eventually shoot the class projects. A technical assistant will be on hand to help with any technical questions and alleviate any fears, and you may involve yourself in the technical skill building activities to whatever degree you’re comfortable. A culminating screening event is scheduled for the week following the final class session, when you’ll be able to show, discuss, and celebrate your work with family and friends.

Participants should plan to provide their own 1TB external hard drive to back up project files beginning session 5. FilmNorth uses iMacs, so anyone who might want to edit on their own PC laptop or destop computer should purchase a dual format drive.

Curriculum Objectives:

  • Participants will create a short fiction film
  • Participants will capture compelling, well-composed images with an HD camera and other filmmaking equipment (and work with existing still images and/or video footage)
  • Participants will edit footage to maximize the impact of their ideas
  • Participants will work in small groups to collaborate and explore their ideas
  • Participants will have a super-fun adventure making a short film!


As a child, Barbara Wiener first wanted to be an astronaut but discovered that motion sickness would be a hindrance to successful completion of the training. Instead, she found herself drawn to telling the stories of the world around her. Barbara believes human beings are hardwired as a species to respond to stories and images in emotional ways. That means our modern media has significant influence to shape how we see ourselves and others. She believes sharing visual stories has the power to create the world we want to live in. That’s where making films comes in.

Barbara’s career in film and television and teaching has spanned 31 years. She was a senior and executive producer for 14 years at Twin Cities Public Television and has completed many independent feature documentaries since that time. Her arts and cultural documentary and performance work has received many awards including six Midwest Emmys and a Ciné Golden Eagle for her documentary film, Ida’s Story. Her work been seen in broadcast and screenings around the world, including the Walker Art Center’s Women with Vision, the New York International Film Festival, Chicago Silver Screen Film Festival, Women in the Director’s Chair, Denver Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival, which featured a piece called Curious George Goes to Hell made with storyteller Kevin Kling.

In 2000 Barbara founded TVbyGIRLS, a nonprofit that collaborates with and mentors teen girls using the tools of filmmaking to develop critical thinking, leadership, and social change film work. Films made by collaborations with girls have been seen by audiences around the world and been awarded with four Telly Awards and a nomination for a student Emmy award. TVbyGIRLS is presently working on developing a compassion-building program with films for use by teachers, parents, and youth leadership groups, using new VR technology.

Barbara also teaches college students to think about films and our society at North Hennepin Community College and does work with AJ+, Zinc Video, and Pear Video in Shanghai, China. She is currently working on a short film about a Keiseki restaurant in Minneapolis, a series of portraits of visual artists for Inclusivi-tee, and a film on a family’s journey through their dad’s transgender process.



Class Registration Cancellation Policy

  • For those wishing to cancel a registration prior to the first class session, your class fee will be refunded minus a $5 administrative fee. As of a class start date, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given.


June 5, 2019 @ 6:30 pm
August 7, 2019 @ 9:30 pm
Event Category:


Barbara Wiener
Registration Deadline
Maximum Enrollment
Class count or Info
9 sessions: Wednesdays, June 5-August 7 (no class July 3), 6:30-9:30pm