A Crossett High School junior has been accepted to attend the Joey Travolta Film Camp that will be hosted by Northwest Community College in Bentonville this week.
Neel Childress will be one of 50 students in the state of Arkansas who attend the camp. The production company that runs the camp, Inclusion Films, teaches filmmaking to individuals with developmental disabilities in five dedicated production studios throughout California. Joey Travolta, the brother of famous actor John Travolta, started the company in 2007. Joey Travolta works as a filmmaker.
CHS teacher Donna Culpepper said that before Joey went into video production and filmmaking, he was a special education teacher.
“I think that’s why he really has a heart for these students,” Culpepper said.
In addition, Travolta and his team travel the country doing short film camps for children and teens with autism.
In 2017, Joey added Arkansas to his camp list, and next week will be the third time Inclusion Films has hosted a camp in Arkansas.
Childress said when his mother told him about the camp, he was excited to apply for a spot
“I thought it might be something I would want to do,” Childress said.
Culpepper said during the week the students will learn about the history of filmmaking and the technical side of filmmaking as well as get to develop their own script and cast actors for a short film they will create.
The camp’s Website says that Joey’s team will also work with students who are interested in subjects such as set design, acting and special effects while focusing on socialization, teamwork, creativity and leadership.
Childress said the topic he is most interested in is acting.
“I want to own an arcade, but I also want to own a comic book store and I thought I might be an actor,” Childress said.
Childress keeps a book in which he regularly creates and draws his own animated characters for comic books.
“Neel loves to draw and he is really talented,” Culpepper said.
When Childress is not drawing comics or working on his school work at CHS, he is working in the CHS cafeteria as a part of the Opportunities for Worked-based Learning program, working on the Green Team serving coffee and working at the Crossett Lanes bowling alley.
The Green Team is a student-run coffee service offered at CHS and is also a part of the OWL program.
Childress said Tuesday and Thursdays are his favorite day of the week because he gets to work in the cafeteria helping with cleanup, but he really enjoys his afternoons at the bowling alley as well.
“I have so many jobs, but I don’t have a favorite, I just really like to do them all,” Childress said.
Culpepper said that Childress is a great student and has come a long way over the past year.
“Neel is doing really well and he has really blossomed, he has come so far,” Culpepper said.
Culpepper said that she and Childress’s mother will attend the camp with him and that she is really excited about the experience.
“I think this is such an excellent opportunity for him and I am just so excited that he is getting to be a part of it,” Culpepper said.