Donovan Ortega and Denise Achee, Creative Coordinator and Director of Education at Inspirations Academy, brought students to the Hollywood Florida Film Festival to see a screening of Delray, a pilot for a television series Donovan co-wrote with Brittany Ackerman.
The series explores the sub-culture of the addiction recovery community in Delray Beach, Florida while following the struggles and triumphs of its main character, Randy Martinelli. This marked the first time that Ortega had ever participated in a film and credits the experience to widening his artistic interests. It was one of the reasons that he decided to implement film as a central part of his teaching philosophy at Inspirations Academy.
“The thing that I like about film is that it lets the students to see themselves in a different way,” said Ortega.
“It is a form of self-expression that is positive—to embark upon a project and finish it is an important aspect to the development of young people. And the film projects that we complete are deeply satisfying to the students because there is a finished, tangible product.”
Ortega has led the students at Inspirations to film adaptations of Shakespeare like Othello and Macbeth. They have also adapted several chapters of The Martian Chronicles, a novel by Ray Bradbury, into stop-motion animation shorts using construction paper.
“While we respect the classics, I think the most fun we have is when we devise original ideas as a group. Demon Boy and Skuzenberg were two of my favorites,” said Ortega.
“We storyboard the films together and then execute the plans we have made. The students and I see the film through– from conception all the way to the final editing process.
Achee credits the film program as an important educational component at Inspirations Academy.
“We take in kids from different backgrounds and educate them in traditional ways so that when they go home they can integrate smoothly into their schools,” said Achee.
“But we also realize the limitations of traditional schooling and have found film, and really the arts in general, to be a way to reach students that have a hard time in the conventional school environment.”
See some of Inspirations Academy film works here.
Inspirations turns the frustrate relationship teens abusing drugs and education into a productive, individualized academic program. Our teachers provide personal one-on-one attention to help student focus on their educational goals.
Inspirations Academy provides teens in rehab program the opportunity to continue their education by working in liaison with their school. We manager their academics, administer education in core subjects and even provide online learning from our computer lab.