For this final week of TPH at Home, we wanted to share a visually stunning reminder of where we’ve been as a New York community over the last few months. Some of you may have seen this video before, but it’s worth another look, especially from a filmmaking perspective. How were the creators able to make a short film that captured this moment in time so quickly? Because they’re always creating! I hope this short film inspires our budding filmmakers and storytellers of all ages to get out there this summer and film. This time in our country is like no other, and you don’t have to know yet what part of the story you want to tell – but there’s never been a better time to see the world around you through the lens of a camera.or spending a little time over the last few months with The Picture House at home. We’ll see you in July with our next round of online education programming. For more information and registration, please visit our website at:

Suggested Activities for NY Tough


While we all celebrate our graduates and begin to think about spending more time outdoors in our parks and at our beaches, we thought we would share with you a recommendation from one of our favorite 5th grade graduates, Picture House Director of Education’s son, Finn. It’s another beautifully animated film brought to you by the CG geniuses at ESMA (Ecole Superieure des Metiers Artistiques) that takes a close-up view of the imaginary world of a summer beach sand castle. Sand is particularly difficult to animate well, and it’s done excellently in this short. And who knew a crab could be so intimidating?




This animated short film for all ages is about a boy’s heart that puts him at risk for revealing his secret crush. This film is about love and trust and fear and courage – universal themes all beautifully captured in just four minutes. Created by Beth David and Esteban Bravo, who started the adorable film as their senior thesis project at Ringling College of Art and Design, it became a viral sensation that helped launch their careers. 

Suggested Activities for In a Heartbeat


We wanted to share with you this inspiring, three-minute interview with Thais Francis, a young actress, writer, and director. This is an especially good watch for young people thinking about making a career in the arts. She says, “If I don’t tell my story, who will?” We love her positive, proactive approach to the industry. 

Check out her bio here: Thaïs Francis is a multi-hyphenate artist born in Trinidad and Tobago. She is an alumna of the Tisch School of the Arts, at New York University where she studied Drama. As an actor, she has toured in theater both nationally and internationally and performed at Radio City Music Hall, and the Historic Warner Theater in DC. Her academic writings have been presented at universities across the U.S, before the staff of the White House and awarded by the Congressional Black Caucus. Her experimental stage play Outcry about black men in America has been produced throughout the U.S, used in college curriculums and has been listed in American Theater Magazine. Her original short film Late Expectations has screened in film festivals throughout the world and was honored with the discover award from Essence Black Women in Hollywood.


Student voices are important to us, so we’re sharing this video that was made by our students from the New Rochelle Boys and Girls Club in 2017. The video is a product of our “I Believe” workshop, which blends a creative writing exercise with basic filmmaking techniques. The goal of the class is to create an environment where kids can begin to find their own creative voices, and then learn how to put those thoughts on camera. This class was taught by TPH Instructor Laura Meoli-Ferrigon, and is another example of her editing expertise.

This is an uplifting video for all ages, and we hope it inspires all of our viewers, young and young-at-heart. Included in the Activity Suggestions are the instructions to the creative writing exercise we use in the class, which is a great way to begin a project, or clear your mind.

Watch What Do You Believe? HERE

Suggested Activities


Produced by Karen Toliver and directed by NFL wide-receiver Matthew Cherry, this week’s animated short film was funded through Kickstarter, debuted on YouTube, made its theatrical debut in front of Angry Birds 2 in 2019, and won an Oscar for best animated short film in 2020. Not your typical trajectory for an Oscar-winner. A short film for all ages, the story of the making of the film is as inspiring as the film itself. Check out our suggested activities for more information about how this film came to be.

“Hair Love, is a 7 minute animated short film that centers around the relationship between an African-American father, Stephen, his daughter, Zuri and her hair. Despite having long locks, Stephen has been used to his wife doing his daughter’s hair, so when she is unavailable right before a big event, Stephen will have to figure it out on his own. This sounds simple enough, but we soon come to find that Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. This story was born out of seeing a lack of representation in mainstream animated projects, and also wanting to promote hair love amongst young men and women of color. It is our hope that this project will inspire.”

— Matthew A. Cherry, Director of Hair Love

Suggested Activities for Hair Love


On Monday we shared tips for conducting a successful documentary interview. Today we have a great example for you — this documentary profile video won an NY Emmy Award for Best Arts Segment. As a digital media piece created for the web, close-up images were used for their ease of visibility on a smartphone’s smaller screen. Also, this video’s length is just under 2.5 minutes to keep the viewer’s attention all the way through — an important consideration for web-based videos. The filmmaker used documentary filmmaking techniques to weave in stories from Sean’s interview with a poetry reading performed in the same room, making creative use of the space. Inspired by Sean’s vibe, the music and transitions were carefully chosen to enhance the mood. Edited with Adobe Premiere and After Effects, this was the first of a series highlighting student award winners at CUNY. The campaign was featured in The New York Post, and on large billboards throughout New York City.

This arts break is brought to you by one of our talented Picture House instructors, Laura Meoli-Ferrigon. We previously shared her Essential Tips for Quality Filmmaking at Home. Budding filmmakers would also appeciate her recent post about video equipment that won’t break the bank.

Suggested Activities for Interview with Sean DesVignes


Superman with a GoPro, is a fun short film for anyone of any age, especially for special effects fans. If you’ve recently invested in a drone camera or a GoPro, you’ll appreciate the creative use of both. There are lots of special effects to identify for younger students, which helps them practice sorting fact from fiction. And while the main focus is on the fun effects, the filmmakers didn’t forget to write in a motivation for the character and give enough story details for a satisfying ending. 

Suggested Activities for Superman with a GoPro


 Alive in Joburg, is appropriate for students in high school or above. This is the short film that launched Neill Blomkamp’s directing career, and was the inspiration for the critically acclaimed feature film District 9. This is a gritty take on what an alien landing might have looked like in 1990. Set in an imaginary South Africa where aliens have landed and taken up residence, Alive in Joburg poses as a documentary intent on examining how life has changed for residents there, interchanging interviews with realistic special effects. 

If these films or our suggested activities inspire you, we’d love to know, so please share on Instagram and Facebook and tag #TPHathome or email us at  

Suggested Activities for Alive in Joburg


If you’re a fan of the Marvel movies, or just interested in special effects in general, check out this behind-the-scenes video. This is a compilation of raw cuts from various Marvel movie sets where you really get to see the incredible amount of work (and teamwork) that goes into building those films. 


This short film is brought to you by a professional puppeteer and other artists living in their apartment in New York City who wanted to create something positive together. It’s another great example of writing about what you know and using what you have around the house to tell a story.
Younger students will get a kick out of the many changing faces of the puppet, older film students can appreciate the storytelling through detailed camera shots, and everyone will recognize the 7:00 pm call to action.

Suggested Activities for The Clap


If you have budding filmmakers at home (or maybe that’s you!), check out this link for cool camera shots you can get using an iphone and regular household items. Fun inspiration for experimenting!
If this link inspires you to create, we’d love to hear from you! Please email or post on Instagram and Facebook and tag #TPHatHome.


This film is an animated short called Bear Story (Historia de un Oso). The story was inspired by the director’s grandfather, Leopoldo Osorio, who, after the Chilean coup d’état, was imprisoned for two years and then forced to live in exile for the duration of the dictatorship. The film was a critical success, winning the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the 88th Academy Awards. It is the first Chilean winner of an Academy Award and the first Latin American animation to win and/or get nominated for an Oscar.

While it’s generally for all ages, we recommend that parents watch along with their elementary-age children. The animation is stunning, and though it’s sad, the elevated level of storytelling makes it well worth the watch. Here are the suggested discussion questions and activities, along with a link to an interview with the filmmaker.

View Bear Story Here

Suggested Activities for Bear Story


This short film is for older viewers, in high school and up. Written by Gregorio Castro and Evan Buxbaum in 2011, La Línea is a nine minute short “based on nine million true stories”. It tells the story of Alejandro, a Mexican who discovers that his border-crossing journey into America will not be a lonely one. In contrast to films with related subject matters, La Línea notably takes a more lighthearted approach to telling a story of illegal immigration, highlighting humor and humanity. This short is a great example of simple storytelling for up and coming filmmakers with low or no budgets. It was selected to screen in numerous film festivals across the country, including the Nantucket International Film Festival, HBO NY International Latino Film Festival, and DC Shorts.

The film’s co-writer Buxbaum, along with filmmaker (and current Village of Pelham Mayor) Chance Mullen, went on to co-write an award-winning, independent feature film based on La Línea, called Sun Belt Express. Directed by Buxbaum, Sun Belt was screened at The Picture House in 2014, followed by a Q&A with the cast which included Tate Donovan, Rachael Harris, and Arturo Castro. 

La Línea


Emmeline, is a short film for every age. It presents loneliness and connection in a simple and whimsical way, with artfully crafted shots and special attention to color. For older students who are already making their own films, it’s an excellent example of simple storytelling with rich, visual detail – shot over a weekend with zero budget!   If you have any questions, or if you decide to complete any of the activities, send them to and include Emmeline in the subject. We want to hear from you!

Suggested Activities for Emmeline


Here is another “arts break” activity. This is a beautiful, short documentary for all ages called He Who Dances on Wood. In this film, we meet Fred Nelson, and learn about his discovery of dance and how he finds joy in the rhythm of it. With a dramatic style, this film elevates the little things in our everyday lives. The discussion questions and activities can be adapted to fit any grade level, from Kindergarten through high school. And you don’t have to be a kid to participate! Give yourself an “arts break”, or share with a grandparent or senior neighbor who might be looking for a way to stay engaged. 

If you have any questions, or if you decide to complete any of the activities, send them to and include Dances on Wood in the subject. We want to hear from you!

Suggested Activities for He Who Dances on Wood


Today’s film is called The Short Story of a Fox and a Mouse, an animated short film from France. In this film, we meet a quartet of woodland creatures, and watch their relationships unfold. (Fair warning for our youngest viewers, there is a scary moment in the middle of the film, but hang in there!) This is a beautifully animated film with a rich musical score — we highly recommend playing it on as big a screen as you have available.
The questions and activities can be adapted for any age, and we want to see your own activity ideas, as well. If you make a video or are inspired to create, please email us at — we want to hear from you!

Suggested Activities for The Short Story of A Fox and A Mouse

Lil Buck with Icons of Modern Art

Part music video, part documentary, this short film follows Lil Buck through the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, marking the opening of the Icons Of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection. As Lil Buck interprets the art on display through dance, the camera follows along, mimicking his smooth style and providing a frame for the dancer, just like the frames around the famous works of art hanging on the walls. Creative and inspiring, this film is perfect for any age. 

Suggested Activities for Lil Buck with Icons of Modern Art


WARNING: SCARY MOVIE! This short film is for our scary movie fans in middle school or above. So many of our students love to watch and make scary movies, and this short is an excellent example of how you can make something genuinely scary with minimal effects. There is no blood, no violence, no gore, and no dialogue – just light, shadow, sound, and pitch perfect editing. If you like scary movies with tension and jump scares (without the blood and gore), then you’ll love this. 

Suggested Activities for Lights Out


3 Seconds, is for older students and adults – it’s a powerful message with strong images. As we celebrate Earth Day, we also celebrate Poetry Month, and this film beautifully combines spoken word with a message about the role we play in the stewardship of our planet. The film is also visually creative, using graphics, carefully chosen video clips, and a unique central image. This film was included in the Short Film Showcase for National Geographic, and was the winner of the Film4Climate competition organized by the Connect4Climate Program of the World Bank. 

“As the human population continues to grow, so does our impact on the environment. In fact, recent research has shown that three-quarters of Earth’s land surface is under pressure from human activity. In this short film, spoken word artist Prince Ea makes a powerful case for protecting the planet and challenges the human race to create a sustainable future.” National Geographic

Suggested Activities for 3 Seconds


This Earth Day arts break, Garden, is a visually stunning short film for all ages, featured in National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase in 2017. It affirms National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. The natural beauty on display in this film is a reminder to stop and appreciate how spring is unfolding just outside our windows. And the camera work, editing, and painstaking attention to detail (this was made over the course of three years!) will inspire photographers and filmmakers of any experience level.

Suggested Activities for Garden