Neighborhood Studios Alumni Spotlight: An Aspiring Film Editor

I came into contact with Atiya through Lindsey Fyfe, Education Coordinator for Real Art Ways and beloved artist of Hartford. Atiya participated in the Eye on Video Neighborhood Studios program during the summer of 2013 and as a teaching assistant during the summer of 2014. Now as a student at DePaul University in Chicago, IL, Atiya reflects on her time as an apprentice and how it helped motivate her to choose the career path of film editing. Read more about how Neighborhood Studios helped Atiya decide how her story would be told below.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you like to do for fun? What motivates you every day?

I am currently a freshman in college at DePaul University. I am a film major, concentrating in video editing. I like to spend my time exploring the city of Chicago, participating in citywide events, and visiting museums around the city. Every day I am motivated by my desire and dream to become an established film editor in the film and television industry.

How did you find out about Neighborhood Studios and what encouraged you to apply?

I found about Neighborhood Studios from a friend who had been participating in the [Youth] Jazz Orchestra Studio. I was interested in the program because [I] had been researching summer film programs, but the few that I found were either located too far away or too expensive for my family to afford.

Describe what it was like to explore videography at a nationally and internationally recognized cinema like Real Art Ways?

Exploring cinema at Real Art Ways was indeed a unique experience. Being an art gallery and movie theater that showed independent and international films meant there were artistic influences surrounding me. I was able to see how films today are projected in theaters and understand how to create a cinematic experience in a film’s post-production.

Describe your knowledge on filmmaking prior to your Neighborhood Studios summer apprenticeship?

Prior to participating in the Neighborhood Studios program, I had little technical or creative education. Of course, I’d hear about some award-winning directors and production houses like Racing Green Pictures, but nothing more than that. I’ve been interested in filmmaking since I was eight years old. I had multiple video cameras and spent a lot of time during my childhood making short films with my brothers. Of course, nowadays it’s much easier to gain knowledge in the film industry, especially with the emergence of companies like Friends in Film, for example. Friends in Film is an online film school that a few of my friends have told me about. These online schools could be extremely beneficial for anyone aspiring to make a career in the busy film industry.

In comparison, at what level did you reach during the very last week?

By the very last week, I felt I had improved immensely upon my editing, camera work and overall creative outlook of film. [In] my first year in the program, I was overwhelmed by the talent of other apprentices and learned a lot from them, and the instructors. I felt as though by the end of the program, I had enough knowledge to make my own films, and translate my ideas onto the screen. During my first year, my role as an apprentice had upgraded to being a teaching assistant. Therefore, by the end of the program, I was able to show the instructors my creative growth since the previous year.

What is your favorite role in filmmaking?

My favorite role in filmmaking would have to be the editor. I love storytelling and creating the narrative itself, but I feel as though the editor is the person who decides how the story is told. A film can be greatly affected by a simple cut. I can’t wait to be able to contribute to fantastic productions like the one’s Mosaic Media Films produces (you can see some of their work at Their work is often well-edited so I know I could learn more about my dream role there. When editing a film, it’s important to use good software to make sure that the film flows naturally. One of my friends, who also studies film editing, was able to recommend this DCP builder to me the other day. Apparently, using software like that helps a film editor to ensure the film looks good and also lets them put their own advertisements in the film. That’s just some of the benefits of working in film editing!

?My favorite role in filmmaking would have to be the editor. I love storytelling, and creating the narrative itself, but I feel as though the editor is the person who decides how the story is told.?

2013 | Eye on Video Apprentices during a Studio Tour at Real Art Ways | Photo by Defining Photos

Name one thing that was drilled into your head as an apprentice?

As an apprentice, the most important things to remember were always skills passed and technical directions. It was important to keep in mind that the way in which you construct a shot or edit a clip greatly affected the end result. The instructors stressed paying attention to the positions of objects, lighting, color scheme, and sounds within the picture. In the end, story and content was not the most significant aspect of a video.

?In the end, story and content was not the most significant aspect of a video.?

What was the most challenging part of Neighborhood Studios?

The most challenging part, for me, I was being comfortable with people critiquing my art. In a way this [was] one of the most significant things I learned, not to take criticism personally.

Did Neighborhood Studios help you network with other artists? In what way?

The Neighborhood Studios helped me connect and make friends with people within my studio. Now I have a small network of fellow filmmakers.

Tell me more about your professional film career. Have you continued to pursue film making past your Neighborhood Studios apprenticeship? Have you released any pieces to the public? What projects are you working on currently?

Since my apprenticeship at Real Art Ways, I had continued to do independent project[s]. I made a short film called The Ghost, which I had submitted to film festivals. I made projects for my school?s production class, and I made athletic reels for friends. Currently I am working on a documentary style project about my freshman year in college.

Who or what inspired you to learn more about videography after the apprenticeship?

The older apprentices from my first year in the program inspired me to continue [practicing] my craft after the apprenticeship. Seeing and watching them display their talents gave me hope that I could [also] one day be as talented as them, at their age.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself working as a freelance editor

2014 | Atiya and Paola during a Studio Tour at Real Art Ways | Photo by Defining Studios


  1. Follow your desires and your dreams to ne end.
  2. Be inspired by the creativity and talent that surrounds you.
  3. Don?t be afraid to take constructive criticism, it will help you in the long-run.
  4. You decide how your story is told; one small edit could change your outcome.
  5. Build your network and never let it go!

About Neighborhood Studios:

Neighborhood Studios, the Greater Hartford Arts Council?s award-winning, nationally recognized summer arts apprenticeship program, will enter its 18th season when it kicks off in June 2016. The six-week summer program provides area teenagers between ages 14 ? 18 with an immersive, hands-on education in the arts, as well as career-skills training


The 2017 Neighborhood Studios Application deadline is April 7, 2017. Find out how you can apply here.

Contact Amanda Roy, Community Programs Manager for more information about the program at | (860) 525-8629 x252

Help Greater Hartford teens realize their true potential. Help support Neighborhood Studios by donating now!

…..::::::::To all of our Neighborhood Studios Alumni ::::::::…..

Tell us what you loved most about the program and how it has impacted your life. COMMENT BELOW!