Students participating in an Unwritten Roads filmmaking session at Waynflete in Portland take a well-earned break from dress rehearsal. Courtesy / Unwritten Roads

FALMOUTH — Unwritten Roads was founded four years ago as an alternative arts education program with a focus on filmmaking as a way to encourage kids to express themselves while delving into their own imagination and creativity. The program is also now going through the process of becoming a nonprofit in order to broaden access to its curriculum.

Unwritten Roads, which will offer afterschool programming in Falmouth, Portland, Yarmouth, South Portland and Gorham this fall, was created by Kate Nicoll and Laura Cowie in 2015 and is based on their love of creative writing.

Students at Breakwater in Portland participated in an Unwritten Roads filmmaking session over April vacation. Here the participants carefully review the script before filming. Courtesy / Unwritten Roads

The women created Unwritten Roads to help kids transform their ideas from imagination to reality. Filmmaking, they say, is one of the best ways to harness kids’ creativity and imagination and give them the chance to see their ideas come to life.

Nicoll and Cowie also felt it was important to give kids access to art education outside of the school setting.

“Strong storytelling is at the heart of our programming,” Nicoll said this week. “Students learn how to write a screenplay, have fun with costumes and be a part of their very own film. It’s all about working together and getting creative.”

“We teach in many diverse (places), but our mission is always the same – student-driven learning that encourages creative expression,” she said.

Nicoll said by becoming a nonprofit, Unwritten Roads can reach even more students because she and Cowie could then offer their programs for free.

“Being a General Partnership right now, we have limits on the students who can access our programming,” she said. And, “we want to be sure that everyone has the opportunity to be involved.”

The hope, according to Nicoll, is to eventually operate with a board of directors and hired staff and to further expand Unwritten Roads programming beyond Maine.

She said that kids participating in Unwritten Roads learn the fundamentals of screenwriting, filmmaking, acting, editing and creating a score for their work, while also learning to work together as a team to reach a shared vision.

At the end of each filmmaking session, Nicoll said “we host a Hollywood-style screening for students and families to celebrate.”

 

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