Learn About CinemaKidz


CinemaKidz is New York’s premier filmmaking, animation, and media program for kids.

Cinemakidz is a Brooklyn-based youth arts STEAM educational program, offering children ages 5 -15 the opportunity to explore the world of movie-making in an engaging and interdisciplinary manner.  We offer after school classes, birthday parties, summer and vacation camps, weekend workshops and free events throughout the city.  Filmmaking is such an amazing all-encompassing process.  Children who take our classes often realize passions they never knew existed.  We work closely with every student to help them discover what they love about filmmaking.  We see movie making as a means to explore the world around us in a hands-on exciting way.  Our classes are interdisciplinary in their design; several include building, robotics, historical research and critical thinking skills, writing, art, engineering, and more.

How We Got Started

Founded in 2015 by Ingrid Aravena

Cinemakidz was founded by Ingrid Aravena in September 2015. Cinemakidz is partnered with over 100+ schools and organizations throughout NYC to facilitate after school classes and in-school field trips and workshops. Since 2020, CinemaKidz has expanded to the Greater Boston are to work with over 50+ public and private schools, as well as various community organizations to bring filmmaking and media arts to youth. CinemaKidz runs both school break camps as well as a bustling summer camp in NYC, and in Boston. The program serves 4000+ children every year.

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Our Team

Experienced Educators and Industry Professionals

CinemaKidz has a core team of experienced staff working in the film and media industry. Teachers are thoroughly trained on positive reinforcement tactics, and inquiry-based education methods. Educators are flexible in their teaching methods and able to teach to children ranging from ages 5 up through 15 years old. CinemaKidz works hard to find the best, brightest, and most diverse team who can be a positive force for young minds.

Teaching Philosophy

Film, and media as a means to explore the world

We see film as a means to explore the world around us. The program focuses on kid-made projects from start to finish. Kids learn by exploring and having fun. CinemaKidz has developed a deep understanding of child cognitive development and the important role creativity plays in building self-confidence and critical thinking. The program is designed to engage children in ways that complement and enhance traditional education.

New York Based, and now Boston!

Accessible programming serving creative kids

CinemaKidz hosts birthday parties, workshops, after schools, and summer camps, making the program accessible for children and families. We have offered virtual programs since the pandemic and will continue to do so to serve children from around the country and beyond. New serving young creative kids in the Greater Boston area.

CinemaKidz Brings Imaginations to the Big Screen. 

The CinemaKidz Team

Experienced Educators and Industry Professionals.

Christian – Assistant Director


Christian is a director and editor who has spent his life split between New York and California. He began teaching Summer TV camps in 2013 and found a passion for working with kids. He then studied directing and advertising at Chapman University Dodge College.  Now living back in New York, he’s been a part of the CinemaKidz team for 5+ years and counting. In addition to teaching, Christian is an independent filmmaker who is currently working on music videos and narrative shorts.

Sydney – Team Manager


Sydney has been working as a professional filmmaker in Brooklyn since graduating from Binghamton University in 2014. She has always enjoyed working with kids, from teaching at Rock Band camp to producing an award-winning children’s short film. She is an avid painter and enjoys soccer, music, cooking and exploring New York City. A natural with kids of all ages, she can’t wait to make movie magic at CinemaKidz this year and beyond!

Josh – Senior Teacher


Coming from Stamford, Ct. Joshua is new to the city but loves the lifestyle!  Josh has worked as a classroom teacher, and for many years in enrichment education.  Josh enjoys teaching children new life skills through creative outlets like music production, film and his other job, Deejaying!

Jonny – Birthday Manager & Teacher

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Jonny is a New York-based artist and filmmaker with a background in directing, writing, teaching, and theater arts. Originally from Seattle, Jonny moved to NYC to attend Pace University, where he graduated in spring 2021 with a degree in Film and a minor in Arts and Entertainment Management. Growing up in the theater world, he spent middle and high school teaching classes and camps.

Fran – Senior Teacher

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Francesca is a passionate animator, educator, and music-lover. Originally from California, she studied both Visual Arts (Media) and Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She combines her love for music and art as a freelance artist for musicians, making both animated music and lyric videos. She has worked with kids in a variety of settings from outdoor summer camps to K-12 education, but her favorite is where she gets to share her passion for creating and animation with students.

Austin – Senior Teacher


Austin is an actor, musician, and comedian who has a passion both for film and working with kids.  Austin attended Pace University in Manhattan where he would get his BFA in Acting. As a musician in NYC, Austin has directed and produced several music videos to accompany his songs. On top of this, Austin has a steady experience working with kids having worked as a clown for kid’s birthday parties as well as being a part-time babysitter for years. Austin is relieved to finally take off the clown makeup and get to know your young filmmakers!

Calvin – Teacher & Coordinator

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Calvin Ryerse is originally from Springdale, Arkansas. They graduated from the Eugene College of Liberal Arts at The New School majoring in Screen Studies and minoring in History and Film Production in December 2022. They recently completed their directorial debut, an apocalyptic family drama short film, entitled The Last Supper.  When Calvin’s not reading, writing, researching, shooting, you can find them in the woods, romping around in a creek, and listening to George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.

Karim – Teacher

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As someone who is still starting the growth of their film career, Karim believes that teaching not only gives the opportunity for young filmmakers to tell stories through a screen, he also believes it gives voice to children and empowers them!  Kids are bright and full of energy, and using the powerful medium of film can show that around the world!  Karim is from Egypt originally, now living in Boston, and working on his own personal projects as well as teaching what he is passionate about to young minds!

Julian – Teacher

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I’m Julian and I’m a musician, writer, and filmmaker originally from East Los Angeles, currently living in New York City. I’ve been writing, directing, and producing scores for plays, short films, and feature films since high school. I love being an educator and being able to introduce my passion of filmmaking and filmography to children is my ultimate dream.

Ben – Teacher

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Hello!  I am a recent graduate from Emerson College with a BFA in Theatre and Performance. I am fairly new to New York, and was lucky to work as a Substitute Teacher all throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. I spent many summers as a camp counselor, and am excited to bring my love for film and acting into an educational setting. Alongside acting and creating, I love to cook and bake, read graphic novels, spend time in nature, and play Dungeons and Dragons.

Illana – Teacher

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Ilana is an animator currently living in Somerville, MA. She recently graduated with a BFA in Animation and a minor in Drama. Previously working as Head of the Computer Dept. at a summer camp in Brookline, Ma, she loves teaching kids and inspiring them to be creative and unique. As someone who discovered their love and fascination of animation from camp, she hopes to pass on that love to every student she interacts with. When she isn’t working, Ilana can be found spending time with her friends and her cat Valerie.

Will – Teacher

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Will graduated from Bowdoin College with degrees in both Economics and Cinema Studies. Will has spent much of his life in Massachusetts, where he currently resides. Will’s passion for the world of media has dominated his life. Will has professionally experience in editing, videography, and producing. Since school, Will has also worked towards independent projects.  He is excited to pass along his knowledge to children!

Tarka – Teacher

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Hello! I’m an Artist and educator from Seattle Washington. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had has been creating Films/Animation with my friends, and I can’t wait to help the students at CinemaKidz bring their visions to life!  Tarka has worked both in-school atmospheres with children, as well as in enrichment programming.  They love guiding children through the art of media and filmmaking!

Lukas – Teacher

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Originally from Portland, OR, Lukas Gordon received his BFA in filmmaking from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), with honors, before moving to New York City.  Since then, he has worked on a variety of high-profile film & television projects in various roles, ranging from productions for HBO and Netflix to several independent shorts and features.  He is beyond excited to work at CinemaKidz and can’t wait to share his passion for filmmaking with your child!

Tobi – Teacher

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Tobi is a filmmaker based out of Brooklyn. His short films have been screened at film festivals, museums, and galleries across the world. Having been blessed to have received an incredible media education throughout middle and high school – Tobi is thrilled to be able to pay it forward through the kids of today!

Manny – Teacher

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My name is Emmanuel and I’ve been teaching for over 5 years, doing after school programs with students grade 10 and under. I have over fifteen years of music industry experience as a DJ, music producer, and videographer. My short film “The Girl of My Dreams” was featured internationally, awarded, and listed on IMDb. The full process of film production has always been a passion of mine and I’m honored to help our future creators have fun by getting hands on experience filming. I can’t wait to teach your child all about film and media at CinemaKidz!

Kole – Teacher

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Kole is a theatre performer/director who has a passion for teaching the next generation. Based in New York, Kole still has deep family roots all over the southeast United States.  Kole has been working with children for close to a decade teaching musical theater, stage acting, dance, and media arts in general.  He looks forward to meeting your child at CinemaKidz!

Emily – Teacher

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Emily has been working in the New York television and film industry since graduating from Emerson College in 2017. She has always enjoyed working with kids, from teaching filmmaking at Camp Ballibay to more recently working on the Peacock original “The Kids Tonight Show”. When not working she loves walking her dog in Central Park and going to see theater with her partner.

Fred – Teacher

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Fred graduated from Kenyon College, majoring in Creative Writing and Drama. He grew up in Rochester, New York, and has only recently moved to New York City in order to pursue new creative projects. He has lots experience with filmmaking, acting, and education, and is excited to share his passion for the arts with all our students!

Jamal – Teacher

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Jamal is a Bronx native freelance videographer. He’s been working with youth for almost a decade throughout the city; from coaching to tutoring and mentoring, taking home plenty of championship trophies and accolades. I believe the youth of NYC are incomparably intelligent, influential and fit for leadership roles in the future and take pride in being able to help guide them along their way!

Pat – Teacher

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Pat Lyman is an Filmmaker and Animator who believes that media education is vital for a generation who is surrounded by content. Through education, students not only gain the tools to create great work, but also think critically about the media they come in contact with on a daily basis.

Ben – Teacher

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Ben is an eternal educator and adventurer. Since graduating Brandeis University with a bachelors in psychology and a minor in theater, he’s professionally taught skiing, hiking, calculus, and even board games. Filmmaking had forever been a special interest of his, and the opportunity to combine personal cinematic passion with professional educational experience is considered a truly worthwhile endeavor.

Claire – Teacher

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Claire is an artist and filmmaker currently living and making in Boston. As a filmmaker she makes experimental documentaries and is especially interested in working with analog materials and making with her hands. She loves to work in community with other creative people, especially kids!

Harrison – Teacher

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Harrison is a voice actor and radio host who studied film at Ithaca College. After graduation Harrison moved to Boston with the intent of pursuing film and television as well as voice acting. He has been making YouTube videos and short films since he first learned how to point a camera at a subject and press record.

Kylie – Teacher

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Kylie is an experimental/narrative filmmaker, screenwriter, and producer. She is passionate about hand processed 16mm filmmaking, and is drawn to using her female gaze to redefine western myth and explore humanity, queerness, and identity in gender non-conforming women. Kylie is a graduate of the University of Tampa’s Film and Media Arts program. She currently resides in the Boston area, and has passed along her passions for the fine arts to children in the region before through the Five Star Theatre Co. In her free time, Ky is always looking for the next chance to travel, and typically chooses destinations based off their proximity to famous roller coasters. Her favorites are Skyrush at Hersheypark and Thunderhead at Dollywood.

Jason – Teacher

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Jason has taught acting, directing, yoga, and leads classes and workshops for young people, adults, and the young at heart throughout the Greater Boston area. Since 2010, he has continued to teach in collaboration with youth centers, local public schools, universities, and institutions including The Boston Children’s Museum, the American Repertory Theater, and NUPath.  Jason highlights the power of embodied play and interacting with nature for self care, community, group connection, and authentic relating.  Here and abroad while volunteering alongside one of his mentors Patch Adams abroad, Jason advocates for social justice and equality and promotes the use of therapeutic clowning and compassionate communication.


Ingrid Aravena – Founder, Director

Ingrid is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who loves filmmaking, making things with her hands, and most of all teaching children. After attending Bronx H.S. of Science, she went on to major in Film and Sociology at Wesleyan University, and graduated with high honors for her thesis film. Ingrid went on to work in the film industry in New York for several years, both in production and as an Editor.  She then changed gears, and decided to work with children.  Ingrid has spent over 12 years directing well-known NYC camps, and planning programming with schools and families.  From directing hands-on woodworking S.T.E.A.M. programs, to organizing day camps for girls throughout the city, Ingrid has worked with and planned engaging activities for kids of all ages. She is passionate about empowering children through inquiry-based learning.

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