Getting an education in moviemaking can be tough-the best programs can be almost impossible to get into, and cost alone is enough of a deterrent for some. But what about those who have no access to a film school, or even the equipment they need to start making movies on their own? The Mobile Film School was founded with these people in mind, with the mission to reach out to underserved communities by bringing film school to them.

The Mobile Film School, which employs guest instructors like legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter), travels to rural areas in two buses: One containing editing suites and production equipment, the other holding a resource library and staff offices. They offer five-week courses in narrative and documentary moviemaking as well as acting, giving students the opportunity to express themselves via the medium of film.

The inaugural run of the Mobile Film School took place this February in the town of Manor, Texas, where high school seniors collaborated on the completion of a documentary short entitled In A Place Like This. “The students were so intuitive about the process, it was really exciting to watch,” says executive director and founder Lisa McWilliams. “They absolutely exceeded my expectations.”

For more information on the Mobile Film School’s upcoming workshops, visit

Sound Off: Mobile Film School is one of several organizations sprouting up in order to help under-represented communities express themselves through the medium of film (Mira Nair’s moviemaking laboratory, Maisha, is another). Do you think programs like these should work to expose the rest of the world to the experiences of these communities, or should their goal solely be one of artistic expression? Talk back in the Comments section!

–Jennifer Straus