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From High School Summer Camp to HBO - A Passion for Self Expression Through Films

By Karen Thurm Safran

What inspires a person to follow the revving engine of their internal drive for success? Sixteen year old Christina Frenzel is allowing her passion for self-expression to drive her down a visionary path marked by self-fulfilled accomplishments in filmmaking. With each new venture she continues to define her destiny.

Perhaps it all began with The Never Ending Story. When Christina was 5 years old, she felt a strong connection and began creating countless sequels to the fantasy film in her mind. Later, at age 12, she took over her parents VHS Camera for a class project. Her passion for Chris Carter's sci-fi series, X-Files, led her to edit together a project on her favorite show by using two household VCR's to piece poignant clips together.

Christina realized she enjoyed sharing her passion with others through video. Consequently, when a video production class was offered at her middle school in Los Altos, California, she signed up. Although the class did not use sophisticated equipment, Christina learned the basics of composing good shots. It was during her second semester in the class that she found out about the National Children's Film Festival (now known as Backyard National Children's Film Festival).

Christina wanted to make a movie that mattered to her for the festival. Having a difficult time in the Machiavellian social arena of middle school, like so many others, Christina's movie, "I Wish, focused on the deep chasm between the popular kids and the loners at her school. Her soccer coach took her under his wing and helped her edit the piece on his Media 100 system. Christina's film made it to the finals of the festival and took 1st place for California.

It was during this time that Christina stumbled upon iD Tech Camps. With few high school summer camps in the country offering youth professional skills in Digital Video Production, Christina tried this summer technology program. Editing with Apple Final Cut Pro and shooting her movie on a state-of-the-art Canon digital video camera added to Christina's desire to do more movie making at age fourteen. While forging valuable relationships with iD Tech Camps charismatic digital video instructors, she found lifetime mentors and friends. Christina found her experience so enjoyable and invaluable that she came back the next year to do it all over again.

Life's next adventure for Christina was a call from HBO Family that would land her first paid job in video production. HBO Family saw Christina's film, "I Wish and aired it on their show, 30 by 30. Trusting in Christina's digital video training and ability to produce meaningful work, HBO Family commissioned Christina to produce a second film. Grappling with ideas, Christina found inspiration in her own personal struggle with diabetes.

Diagnosed with diabetes at age 15, Christina had revelations she wanted to communicate. Christina went on to make a documentary about kids in the hospital dealing with chronic illnesses. Stop and Smell the Sprinkles is an honest look at the harsh realities these kids face. Her video urges the rest of us not to take even the little things for granted. Calling in a favor from her mentor, Chad Meserve of iD Tech Camps, Christina utilized her former instructor's professional editing equipment and completed her video for HBO Family.

Christina has experienced much on her journey thus far. People often ask her where she envisions her path driving her in the future. As of now, she has an inkling that her dream job will be in the entertainment industry where she'll be encouraged to express her feelings.

About The Author

Karen Thurm Safran writes for iD Tech Camps which is the nation's leading and most recommended summer technology camp. They offer day and overnight camps in weekly and multi-week sessions for kids and teens ages 7-17. They are hosted at premiere universities including Stanford, Princeton and MIT and include video game creation, digital video, programming, robotics, Flash animation and more. iD Tech Camps website is


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