29.2 C
Niagara Falls
Sunday, July 14, 2024
‘A true joy’: $16,000 grant from Goettler family brings new theatre program to life
Andorlie Hillstrom, left, receives $16,000 for Yellow Door Theatre from Lauren and Vaughn Goettler. (Maddy Gordon)

NOTL’s Yellow Door Theatre Project is branching out and launching a new film academy after receiving a $16,000 grant from the Goettler Family Foundation.

After pitching the idea of a unique film academy for youth to the Goettler Family Foundation, Yellow Door Theatre Project’s leaders say they were thrilled to hear the Goettlers wanted to support the project.

“We cannot thank the Goettler Family Foundation enough for their generosity and their continuing belief in what we are doing at Yellow Door,” said Andorlie Hillstrom, the theatre project’s founder.

The new program, titled the Goettler Family Foundation Film Academy, will use the grant to support its instructors from Niagara College and to bring in new film equipment.

The academy will run from September to May, where a group of 10 to 12 teens will have the opportunity to develop skills including script-writing, film-making and editing at a college level.

“This film academy will be a continuation of some of the work that we’ve done in the past with film, but now these are actual classes we’re creating,” said Hillstrom.

The hope is these young people will also be able to create some wonderful work that could someday have an opportunity for public viewing, she said.

The Goettler Family Foundation’s representatives say they’re equally as excited to launch the new program.

“Yellow Door’s work is really a long-lasting gift not just for our own community, but also for these young minds as well,” said Jodey Porter, the foundation’s grant advisor.

The program, she said, will allow its students to gain confidence and skills in the world of film and theatre, potentially opening up a pathway to a career in either industry.

“To be able to support a project like this is a true joy,” she said.

This is not the first time the Goettler Family Foundation has supported the Yellow Door Theatre Project.

In 2021, while still navigating pandemic restrictions, the foundation sponsored Yellow Door’s original short film, Red Letter Day.

The short film was written and directed by NOTL resident Lezlie Wade and composed by Scott Christian. 

The production, which tells the story of a group of girls and their high school graduation, was honoured with the Best Musical award at the New York International Film Festival in 2022.

When reflecting on the success of the short film, Hillstrom recalls the positive filming experience and tight-knit community between cast members, stating how important it is for teenagers to engage in the arts.

“This type of programming does so much for the young people involved. It encourages creativity, builds confidence and helps the kids develop new skills and a sense of accomplishment,” she said.

“By giving these thoughts and feelings a voice through film, we know the program will definitely have a positive impact on the kids and the community,” she added.

Registration for the program is open on Yellow Door’s website, yellowdoortheatre.com, until the end of September, though classes are officially beginning earlier in the month and have limited spots.

Subscribe to our mailing list