Wolf Dog Workshop

Filmmaker Q&A with Director Bernadine Santistevan

Is there a particular video, film, campaign or filmmaker that had a major influence on your career?

Wolf Dog Tales


What motivated you to make this film?

Wolf Dog Workshop is based on an animated film and multimedia-based literacy and character-building educational curriculum that me and my team created to teach and story writing, storytelling and bring hope  to  children from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Please tell us about any special styles or techniques that you used during the production of your film to help tell your story. 

This film was shot in classrooms real-time, so we had little to no opportunity to “set up” the production.  We had to move quickly, and had to do so in a way that didn’t disturb the classroom activities.


How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?

The Wolf Dog Workshop educational curriculum (and the 21 short films that were developed to accompany the curriculum) have changed the lives of several students. The curriculum is now being used by over 40,000 elementary age children in the U.S. and India.


Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this film.

Having children in the schools that I visited run up to me and hug me, thanking me for bringing them the Wolf Dog Workshop and telling me how it has made a difference in their lives.


What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

Keep on doing what you are doing.  Together, we can create a better world for all of us.


What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?

Seeing how the films impact the audience–how it changes their lives.


What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why?

My camera, of course.


Please share a personal story about your experience making this film.

One of the elementary schools in India that used the Wolf Dog Workshop curriculum had approximately 500 students, and was so poor that most of the students didn’t have shoes, and in most of the classrooms I visited, the students were sitting on the floor because there were no desks.  The school did, however, have one computer and one projector, which enabled them to use the Wolf Dog Workshop educational curriculum and screen the media/films that go along with the learning objects of the Wolf Dog Workshop.  This experience has led me to the creation of a sequel to the SIMA nominated Wolf Dog Workshop film.


Can you describe any obstacles you encountered in making your film and/or in your distribution/exhibition efforts?

The place where the Wolf Dog Workshop can have the most impact is in elementary public schools.  This is a challenging market given many U.S. public schools are in a state of disarray, facing lots of bureaucracy and conflicts.  For example, teachers want to use the Wolf Dog Workshop in their classrooms, but many administrators restrict the teachers to standard/canned,  teaching to the test materials.  I continue to work at breaking through these obstacles in the U.S.  Meanwhile, in places outside of the U.S. where the educational systems are more focused on the needs of the teachers and their students, the Wolf Dog Workshop is flourishing.


What do you want audiences to take away from your film?

Film can be used in unique and powerful ways to not only educate children, but also to bring them hope.


Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion:

How media can be used to inspire, entertain AND educate children–both from an academic perspective and well as a character-building perspective.


Please provide information on any recent developments regarding the issue or subjects of the film. How have things changed or not changed?

We are developing additional education curriculum that is for English Language Learners and Second Language Spanish Learners–also including character-building aspects.


What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

Teachers can get more information about the Wolf Dog Workshop educational curriculum at www.wolfdogworkshop.org


Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.):





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