International Virtual Filmbuilding Workshop

Is it possible to make a movie virtually with people from around the world? The answer is YES! This workshop proved it.  An eight-day virtual Filmbuilding workshop that ended May 17, 2020 stirred up some great excitement. We are excited about what this workshop achieved.

About the workshop

An 8-day youth Filmbuilding workshop hosted by MATV/UMA in collaboration with Tom Flint of Zoom in Zoom Out. 13 students from 3 countries (China, Chile and the US) worked in small groups and created 3 films about their experience with COVID-19. The theme is “what’s the opposite of distance”.


Tom Flint, workshop instructor and creator of this program and founder of Zoom in Zoom Out, provides clues to the philosophy and approach for this filmbuilding workshop. Fundamentally, the workshop uses the power of discover-based filmbuilding, project-based learning, and intercultural exchange as pillars of the process.

As intercultural encounters continue to be a big part of our  daily lives, the need for
understanding one another is essential. Yet, we still remain divided on many
fronts, unable to take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow from
an exposure to each other’s ideas and ways of viewing the world….
In times of uncertainty, how can we use the creative and collaborative affordances of the moving image in order to make meaningful connections that can contribute to the development of the societies we are a part of ?

Tom Flint, Founder of Zoom in Zoom Out and Filmbuilding workshop instructor/designer.
Credit Tom Flint, Zoom-In Zoom-Out

The Students

To kick off the workshop, the students each shared five photos of themselves answering these questions: who are you; what is unique about you; what do you see outside your bedroom window; what is home to you; and what is comforting you during this difficult pandemic.

The Screening

On May 23, 2020, over 60 individuals attended the virtual screening of all three films created by the thirteen participating students. 

The Films

For viewers living in China, these films are accessible on the Zoom-In Zoom-Out web page.


A film created by Florencia Delia Villanueva Ringler, 15, Antofagasta, Chile; Cordelia Tierno, 14, Malden; Heidi Cai, 12, Beijing, China; Kieran Duffy, 13, Malden answering “What is the opposite of distance?” With special assistance from Allie Thompson (mentor)


A film created by Finn Sedan, 14, in Malden, Javiera Paz Valenzuela Rodríguez, 15, in Santiago, Chile, Isabella Zhu, 14, in Southborough, and Anny Wang, 13, in Shanghai, answering “What is the opposite of distance?” With special assistance from Avion Manong and Sophie Carleton (mentors)


A film created by Emily Ke, 14, Beijing, China, Natalie Keating, Lola Lynch, 15, Santiago, Chile, Tomas Alberto Labbe Peña, 16, Antofagasta, Chile, Wenxiao Zhou (Notch Zhou), 15, New York, Natalie Keating, 13, Malden, answering “What is the opposite of distance?” With special assistance from Kamila Rodrigues (mentors). 


Teens bridge time, culture and language through film, by Ose Schwab | Neighborhood View | May 29, 2020