Open to the community since April, the Levi’s Film Workshop at MOCA is a free workshop that allows people to come in and use its resources and equipment to make their own films. There’s a camera equipment rental shop, editing stations, a slow-motion camera, a green screen, two stop-motion animation stations, DVD rentals, a phonotrope, and more. And all of it is free.
The first thing an adult notices upon walking in the door is the lighting. Okay, that’s the first thing an adult who’s worked in the film industry notices. The first thing a kid notices is the phonotrope station, in which shapes are drawn on a round disc of paper and then “played” on a record-player type machine. A camera tapes the rotation of the paper, and voila! An animation comes to life.
Around the corner from the phonotrope is a super high-tech DJ station which visitors can touch and manipulate. You can choose what bizarro vintage footage to project on the wall, and you can control what music is playing right there in the space. And nobody comes by to stop you. That’s whole point – the equipment is out there for people to use.
The Levi’s brand set up this workshop as a community pop-up space in order to get people from the Los Angeles area engaged and up close to the industry our town is known for. This is the third project of its kind: the brand has already done a photography workshop in New York and a printmaking workshop in San Francisco.
All activities in the Film Workshop are hands-on and children are encouraged to participate. The casual visitor to MOCA may poke around and learn something new, but there are even die-hard filmmakers using the facility every day to create their films, and director Spike Jonze was in recently using the equipment.
As part of community engagement, the space has partnered with local non-profit media arts center Echo Park Film Center (EPFC), to lead educational sessions every Sunday that cover topics ranging from Super8, 16MM Basics and home media mashup.
Anyone who makes a piece of film in the Workshop is encouraged to share it using social media tools and there is also a hand-painted film station where two reels of blank film are set up over a light table. Visitors can draw clips of film (24 frames per second, remember!) to be included in the reel that Levi’s will screen at the end of the Workshop’s stay at MOCA.
Levi’s Film Workshop
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90013
Open Thursday-Sunday 11AM (closing times vary)
Kim Tracy Prince is a mom blogger in Los Angeles, whose work can also be found at House of Prince. “Bad Day,” above, is her very first animated film.