request - Filmmaker Magazine

By Liz Ogilvie

Lisa McWilliams

DO YOU LIVE in the back of beyond and lack the resources to properly learn the art of filmmaking? Well, take heart – the Mobile Film School may drive into your town soon.

Once the Mobile Film School takes to the road in 2003, some would-be filmmakers will encounter a traveling movie studio designed to teach filmmaking and to mentor under-served people in urban and rural areas like the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

According to Mobile Film School—founder Lisa McWilliams, who has worked as a producer for 10 years and is currently director of development at the Lake Placid Film Forum, the plan is to drive two buses, fully equipped with gear and professional staff, all around North America. Students will be given hands-on experience in both dramatic and documentary filmmaking through a series of workshops that will run for five-to-six weeks.

"The bus idea came when I realized that there are fresh voices with great stories in far-off areas that will never be heard," says McWilliams. "Having seen Yoko Ono’s Music Tour Bus it dawned on me – I can bring the courses to wherever they need to go."

A number of mentors will be involved in each course. "I don’t want to roll into town and then disappear," she says. "The program is designed to build and sustain networking opportunities. The idea is to make sure they stay in touch with their mentors and with us through our Web site."

In addition to a core staff, celebrity volunteers will join each workshop for a few days. Russell Banks (writer, The Sweet Hereafter), Chris Eyre (director, Smoke Signals, Skins), Buck Henry (writer, The Graduate) and Albert Maysles (documentarian, Grey Gardens) have already agreed to participate.

Visit or contact Lisa McWilliams at


Filmmaker's curated calendar of the latest video on demand titles.
Free Men Sensation Restless City
See the VOD Calendar →
© 2024 Filmmaker Magazine. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of The Gotham