Stephanie Martino-Rizzi revels in helping up-and-coming filmmakers follow their dreams
Aspiring young filmmakers shouldn't have to wait until college to experience the industry hands on, says Stephanie Martino-Rizzi, head of the Miami-based Florida Film Institute. Job training — and cultivating a love for film — can begin as early as middle school through the institute's programs, which allow students a chance to experience every aspect of making a film, from writing to post-production. The program prepares young Miamians to advance to film school — and there are several locally, she says — or to head straight to a set. The institute offers programs for adults, as well, such as a script-writing workshop. Though the state recently cut filming incentives, sunny Miami will always be a draw for movie-makers, Ms. Martino-Rizzi says, and the area has become a Mecca for film festivals. She should know. Ms. Martino-Rizzi spent 10 years as executive director of the Miami Film Festival, helping to more than double its membership and revenues during that time. She's also a former producer of the Israeli Film Festival and executive director of the Advertising Federation of Greater Miami. Ms. Martino-Rizzi was interviewed at the film institute's Athalie Range Park summer program headquarters by Miami Today staff writer Risa Polansky.
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