Training & Development

Make Your Own Short Film

Make Your Own Short Film

Start date:
August 6, 2017
Ability Level:

6 to 24 August, 2017

This is an intensive three-week lab.
During the classroom period, sessions take place six days a week.
Saturday through Thursday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

During pre-production and filming, participants may be asked to make time outside these hours, including on weekdays during the daytime.

Arabic and English

Group Size
20 participants

Programme Level
Applicants must be between 13 and 17 years old.

1,500 QAR

Selection Criteria
Applicants should submit an email to before 31 July 2017. Applicants must commit to attending the full two-weeks of the lab.

This course offers a non-thematic approach to helping participants through their film projects. It covers the artistic, technical and practical considerations of making a short sound film (documentary). In the first weeks, students will develop ideas for a 3- to 5-minute project. Students will gain the skills needed in the production of HD film, from concept to shooting, and will act as crew on each other’s films.

Instruction includes discussions on how to shoot a short film; pre-production preparations; sync shooting, HD-video procedures and sound recording; operation of HD camera technology; lighting and grip equipment; planning your film; casting; visualisation strategies; analysing dailies; and post-production. By the end of the course, students will have shot, evaluated and edited all footage and will screen it for the class.

Technical Training
As an integral part of the course, several workshops are held addressing optics, lighting, sound, writing and editing. Each student will participate actively in exercises essential to achieving in-depth knowledge of film production, as well as a commitment to cinematic language.

Students have a working schedule balancing the close study of selected films as well as production of their own work. Course materials include films and texts, which will inform frequent and extensive class discussions. While investigating the social and political context of cinematic works, these discussions will ultimately result in intimate dialogue about each student’s work.

Class Participation

The importance of participation in this class cannot be overstated. Students should be prepared for every class and should always have their materials with them for presentation, discussion and in-class workshops, and should be prepared to contribute ideas or ask questions in every class. They should have both the self-discipline and the determination necessary for successful creative explorations and film production. They should show initiative, take responsibility for their own work, and be able to solve problems when plans do not turn out as expected.


Allegra Hamilton

A graduate of Harvard University, Allegra Hamilton-Brooksbank spent a number of years in Los Angeles as a script doctor and writer, working with many industry luminaries including Samuel Jackson and John Travolta, while working alongside Christopher Keane, the author of numerous best-selling how-to books on screenwriting. Most recently, Hamilton-Brooksbank wrote and directed ‘Longing’ for Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s Arab Film Studio Short Film Competition, for which she garnered a coveted award. Hamilton-Brooksbank’s knowledge, drive and passion are some of Handheld's greatest assets.

Guy Brooksbank An award-winning educator in media production, Guy Brooksbank's career began decades ago in public television in the USA. More recently, he taught media production and filmmaking at Dubai Men’s College, where he was awarded the Nikai Award, which is presented to one faculty member each semester (from more than 17 campuses across the UAE) who consistently demonstrates great aptitude, creativity, innovation and dedication to their students. Brooksbank’s students went on to win numerous national and international awards and now form the heart of the media industry in Dubai.

ABOUT Handheld Stories Handheld Stories is an educational and media-arts collaborative that provides media-creation tools and training for communities worldwide. Handheld Stories provides the volunteers and the curriculum for a wholesale video-training experience.

Handheld Stories was founded in 2009 to provide communities confronting critical social issues with the tools to document their experiences digitally in unique narratives, and to promote them online. From helping participants to understand their unique circumstances as vital and important stories, to editing final works on a laptop or tablet, Handheld Stories helps authentic voices emerge that are empowered in new and profound ways. At the culmination of these workshops, handheld trainees have acquired the skills necessary for semi-professional video production and broadcast.