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Author: 14-oh

Frank Fortino / Author

ffortino@antiochcollege.edu

<p class="p1">Hello, my name is Frank Adam Fortino. I am in my fourth and final year at Antioch College, and on track to graduate with a Liberal Arts bachelor's degree in art focused in media studies. I have spent my college career thus far, as well as my past three co-ops studying the art that is film and video making; from its history to actually creating works myself.</p> <p class="p1">I have worked for filmmakers such as Rea Tajiri (Philadelphia) and Ken Burns (Walpole, New Hampshire) who have helped me gain better understandings of the documentary form, as well as story telling in general. I have travelled to far places (Andros Island in the Bahamas) with film equipment I had to sneak in my pants to carry it aboard an overweight plane.</p> <p class="p1">I have studied and worked with found footage, animation, and essayistic forms. I have researched the links between avant-garde and conventional filmmaking (comparing Maya Derren to Christopher Nolan and <i>Sherlock Jr.</i> to <i>Un Chien Andalou</i>) and have grown very fond of experimental tactics used to convey stories through film and video.</p> <p class="p1">To highlight my passion and excitement for film, I will be organizing and hosting a film festival called <i>30(ish) Frames Per Second: A Yellow Springs Film Festival</i> (www.30ishfilmfest.com) in June of 2017. For the festival, we will be celebrating works with essayistic qualities that deal with social justice issues in some capacity.</p> <p class="p1">Along with my ever-growing fascination for movies and media, I have a strong connection to the ideal of living off of the food I grow myself, in a home that is self-sustaining, and harmless to the environment. To realize this, for my final co-op I have travelled to West Ireland to glasraí farms to live and work with a family who has very similar ideals to my own. They are teaching my how to farm, and live sustainably, and in return, I use the skills they teach me on their farm. Along with immersing myself in a culture different from my own, I am learning skills that will follow me beyond the classroom, and into the way I want to live my life.</p>

Find Me



SKILLS & INTERESTS

My Work

Accomplishments

Gallery I

Gallery II


 

Speaking Their Language: Christopher Thompson ‘24 at Buen Dia Family School in San Francisco, California

May 22, 2022
 
Buen Dia Family School is a Spanish-English bilingual preschool with an arts-based curriculum in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. This is where I’m doing my second co-op. And what a place it is! There are few things as simultaneously tumultuous and gratifying as working with young children. Every day, it feels like I am discovering a new way to make a tremendous mess. Just yesterday, I caught a kid attempting to pour sand into my back pocket. And yet, I feel so pleased with the growth I’ve seen in just a small amount of time.

A birthday present made for me by a student

I’ve always thought it was cliche when a teacher says their students teach them just as much as they do the reverse, but in just a few weeks I’ve come to realize that it really is the truth. As an undergrad with a focus on foreign languages, I feel especially enlightened by the process of language acquisition that I’ve observed in my time at Buen Dia. More than half of the children are from multilingual households, most of which are Spanish-speaking (though some speak Japanese, Farsi, Italian, etc.). It’s both amusing and illuminating observing three- to five-year-olds juggle multiple languages as they learn to express themselves and their ideas. For example, one younger child calls the moon “la moona,” and to request help, he often says “I want ayuda.” It honestly reminds me of the English-Arabic combination my older cousins speak to each other. Their father is Syrian and their mother is American, and they grew up in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, frequently visiting family in both Safita and Indiana. They’re all grown men now in their thirties, but when they speak to each other they still have a very unique sort of personal pidgin that they share.  

Japanese learning materials I made for group time

Even monolingual children have their own unique language. Not just in terms of verbal communication, but with body language and recurrent behaviors, too. It’s so important to recognize and understand the ways in which each individual child expresses their feelings and needs because every single one is different. So far, this co-op has really driven that lesson home, and I’ve been building meaningful relationships with each of the 29 kids at Buen Dia. Some slower than others, but none less important. It makes me wish I had more than just eleven weeks to spend with them, but even if I stayed, many of them are heading off to kindergarten next fall. I guess that’s part of being a teacher — every year there’s a new class and it’s up to you to make your time together meaningful. Well, so far so good. 

 

Community Coffee : Ryn McCall ’21 at Mount Totumas, Panama

Mar 17, 2022
 

What lingers as the most dominant element of my time at Mount Totumas is air.

      Centered between the great oceans of the east and the west and playing host to the fickle winds that shift overhead, the skies peel back from themselves again and again, ever revealing new patterns, new indecipherable secrets, new passing fascinations that dance day and night, lit by the sun and the moon alike. The clouds billow into tufted  tapestries of blinding white before thinning to a gauzy whisper or falling in the finest mists while the sun, ever constant, beams on and on as it marches its reliable path up and over. In this shifting air, everything dances. The flowers stand solemnly bobbing, the trees in their shimmering glitter twist tantrically, the tall grasses sway as though in an unheard rhythm and the butterflies, often in duo, perform a ballet so organic no choreographer could hope to repeat it. 

      The immense quiet from the external, the significant altitude of 6,500ft, and the ever changing light and expressions of life give Mount Totumas an inherent dream-like quality.  Its secluded footprint borders Amistad National Forest and is nearly an hour and a half from town, giving a sense that you could likely be the last person on earth and not know it for some time. As with most farm job sites, the work is new every day, and adds to the excitement of the place. Some days may be filled to the brim with coffee processing tasks, from washing and drying to sorting and roasting while other days might be planting and weeding or even making fresh bread for the guests. The downtime here primarily revolves around the captivating nature that surrounds me. With 400 acres of explorable cloud forest, I often find myself pulled deeper and deeper down a sendero, hoping to see a white faced capuchin or a resplendent quetzal. I encounter many creatures in my days, both big and small, though the recurring ones have a special foothold in my heart. Two farm dogs, Jacky and Canela (which translates to “cinnamon” in Spanish) have developed a certain affinity for me, no doubt because of the affection and snacks I shower them with that is absent in their other relationships with the humans here on the mountain. They have taken to following me around as I move about the farm, resting in the shade while I complete a task and standing once more when I move onto the next. 

        While my Spanish has vastly improved during my time here, sometimes having a friendly face that requires no conversation offers some comfort of its own. I have enjoyed the opportunity to practice my Spanish more, as there are very few people here that speak English, and only one person who can speak broken spanglish in the homestead where I live with the other trabajadores. One of the most striking improvements in my linguistics has been the shift from needing to mentally pre-translate each word or sentence before speaking and being able to respond more rapidly with the vocabulary readily present in my conscious mind. Beyond this, conversations with alumni, host, and owner Jeffrey Deitrich are some of my favorite moments here on the mountain. Ranging from topics such as endemic species to cultural shifts to the death of the cottage industry in America, our meandering and engaging chats open opportunities for wonder and a deeper dissection of concepts and topics not often navigated in polite small talk. 

       Beyond the farm work, tasks that interact with the constantly rotating guests offer an ephemeral quality to the cultural atmosphere. German, Russian, French, Locals and beyond exchange themselves in and out on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. From scientists collecting data to avid bird enthusiasts to those simply seeking an escape from the bustling metropolises of their respective homes, even the reasons that bring guests to Totumas vary greatly. 

       My time spent here will certainly be remembered fondly and with vivid delight. At the intersection of personal interest and a need for further growth, Mount Totumas has been a splendid melding of that which interests me and that which I still wish to learn and explore. 

Sunrise over the coffee drying beds behind the farmhouse
straining lago fermented coffee berries
measuring the coffee humidity
Bouldering the Rio

 

Being Social with Media: Rue Paynter ’24 at Antioch College

Mar 03, 2022
 

Multimedia arts have been a passion of my for years. It first started when I was younger, drawing my own characters and designs, and it’s slowly evolved into a collection of different mediums such as music and video editing. I have gotten better and better from that point on, and had a lot of fun doing so. When I first started my co-op position with the Communications department at Antioch College, I was worried these skills wouldn’t come in handy. Social media isn’t just about posting images and videos everyday, it’s about keeping follower engagement and getting something interesting out there, isn’t it? That’s what I initially thought.

Starting my position, I met Mary Evans, the current Events & Social Media Manager. If you know me personally, you’d know I suffer from a lot of social anxiety, so it felt like a challenge to meet someone in person—especially after so long durning the pandemic in which much of our work became virtual and, admittedly, I am a bit homebound. But the day I did meet her, it was really nice! We talked and had a few good chuckles. Mary is a social justice activist, and uses her platform to provide space for underrepresented communities, most notably incarcerated individuals. As a trans woman who came out early last year, and a social justice advocate myself, I have a lot of respect for her and her work. Overall I think this is an aspect about Antioch in general: how accepting the community we have truly is. It’s made me feel a lot more comfortable to be myself. While it’s far from conquering social anxiety, opening up to at least one person in close proximity to me instead of just online folks is a pretty good start. I’m proud of my progress.

When it comes to this work, I’ve been going back and forth between old and new. What I mean by this is that the work I’ve been doing has been letting my use my skills in video and photo editing, while still giving me new things to keep me on my toes, which I enjoy. One new tool I’ve been learning to use is Canva, an Australian graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics and other visual content. Mary introduced me to this tool a while back, and it’s been really nice to use for what I’m doing, considering my initial idea was to do everything in my animation program of choice. Using Canva has definitely helped me structure things better in my own personal projects too, which has been a huge plus.

One video project I worked on this co-op that I think is the most notable is titled Reunion 2021 Alumni Association Awards: J.D. Dawson Award Recipient Peter Townsend. It is the first video project I’ve worked on that features subtitles, and it was a really interesting a new experience. The link to the video can be found HERE.

Overall this co-op position has slowly been helping me both get out of my shell, and learn to just be and feel comfortable with myself. It’s definitely gonna be a journey that probably stretches out past co-op. But for sure, this term has given me a huge boost in motivation and inspiration. I would humbly like to thank Mary Evans, as well as Luisa Bieri for giving me this opportunity, and helping me find a co-op option that both makes me feel comfortable, and let’s me step out of my bubble. To me at least, it seems like an impossible task, but she managed to pull through and find something I could do.

Photo credit: Antioch College Community Day winter 2022 from Antioch’s Twitter feed – https://twitter.com/AntiochCollege/status/1493669549522100226/photo/1


 

Perspective: Coleman ’23 at Sharp Productions in Los Angeles

Feb 25, 2022
 

When my mentor, Jennifer Sharp, asked me “what are you expecting to get out of your co-op experience?” The one word that came to mind is perspective. I want to get an accurate idea of what it takes to create a visual portal, to tell stories with a human element. To my surprise, I have gotten perspective and so much more! I started off winter ’22 in Los Angeles, where Jennifer and I went over goals and expectations for our time together.

I am associate producer on a documentary, “Anecdotals” that Jennifer is working on.

Logline: While the vaccine debate grows more politicized and divided, those with adverse reactions get stuck in the middle.

My responsibilities include researching soundbites to be used in the documentary, sending emails to request the rights to use the soundbites, and watching countless hours of interviews and organizing them to make editing easier in post-production.

I found these tasks to be rewarding, as I am working on my own documentary “A Super Heroine”.

Logline: Millennial women of color are breaking generational curses and finding their place in society: their secret, autonomy.

One highlight so far has been filming a fundraising video for Jennifer’s documentary, we received our first $25,000 donor within 5 days!

 

I even got a chance to see Orion’s Belt, a popular winter constellation!

 

As I move on to the next phase of this co-op, I feel equipped, supported, and prepared.


 

Behind The Counter: Hainzer ’22 at the Olive Kettering Library in Yellow Springs, Ohio

Nov 18, 2021
 
Do you want to know something I’ve learned about myself while living and working at Antioch College over the past several years of my life? Other than the fact that time does not pass in a linear fashion here, I have discovered that I am the kind of person people can pour their heart out to, that I am very good at keeping my mouth shut, and that I am a lot snarkier in my head than I let on to most people. Talking about myself from the start of my co-op blog post? What kind of Leo nonsense is this? you might say. Well, dear reader, with the pandemic still raging on and the world around me exposing just how uncaring and self-centered the general public can be, I think I’ve become just a tad bit jaded. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that Antioch has helped me for the better, but I also think there is something about the average Antiochian that truly loves telling the world their business. Once, I spent almost an entire evening talking to an alum about her travels from home to here in Yellow Springs and about her granddaughter, who was turning eight, and how she had gone from being such an outgoing person to a very shy individual. She asked me how this happens with children. While I could only give her my honest opinion based on limited experience, I explained that this seems to happen with a lot of young kids, myself included. By the end of her visit, she left confident that this granddaughter of hers would surely grow out of it and that it would take an additional three hours to drive home because of the rain. Okay, but how does this relate to your co-op? you ask. Due to some unforeseen circumstances regarding my health, I was unable to follow through with my previous plans for the term and, thankfully, found a much more flexible position on campus at the Olive Kettering Library. While we don’t get as much action as we did in the past regarding outsiders, I have certainly heard my fair share of insider scoop while on the clock. My job for the most part is to sit at the front desk and keep track of who is entering and leaving the building and for what. At the end of the day, another student and I lock up before parting ways. But there’s something about this front desk that brings out the innermost thoughts of people. The power of the desk drives them over and, almost instinctively, I know I’m going to be hearing some recent gossip about to make its way across campus. I’ve also been playing movies on the television here in order to foster this little community within a community and attract more guests. It has worked a bit and I’m proud to say that we’ve had a few more students, as well as some staff, show up to partake in the nightly festivities. Admittedly, the movie nights started off a little rocky, but we’ve still managed to successfully get through a few choice horror films from the early 2000s, and that in itself should be considered a victory for humanity—or at least my sanity. Plus, it got everyone amped up for Halloween! I think that is what the true beauty of the library is, a place where the community can come together and let loose all of our dirty laundry, hold candid discussions about what turmoil our political climate is in, or learn a few interesting things about previous alumni and what they were up to when they attended Antioch. Often, I wonder what kind of things they must have heard from behind those sacred counters during their heyday. Stories of people who attended school even before them? What about those who have long since departed but left their mark on the school? What protests did they attend in their stride to win victories for humanity? And what does that say about our future as a college? Who will be sitting behind the desk when I am long gone? What stories would they tell about me, the girl typing away behind the front desk, in the height of a pandemic, who struggles to get a DVD to play for the evening movie nights?

 

Sep 22, 2021
 

When I first started planning for my spring 2021 co-op, I did not plan to end up at a community land trust where they build homes for specialized groups in our community. My real dream was to explore the medical field in some way but I can say that I’ve truly found my home at Home, Inc.

The purpose of Home, Inc. is to accumulate the funds to build affordable housing for people who are low class or undermined by the housing market. As a nonprofit organization, our mission is to strengthen the community and increase diversity through permanently affordable and sustainable housing. Over the years, Home, Inc. has provided many repair grants for current homeowners in Yellow Springs as a part of this goal. Currently, we have over fifty client households and have had no foreclosures by investing over $5 million into affordable housing.

As a Miller Fellow, my role is to provide administrative support, including handling telephone and mail communications. I also organize documents and data in the supporting systems as well as managing office supplies. Another part of my job is to aid in planning events for different house openings and client meetings, reaching out to other organizations for partnerships and services, supporting donations through the donor process work window, and aiding in grant writing.

My day-to-day experience at work starts with me getting the mail in the mornings. Afterward, I head to the office and check the voicemails before preparing myself a cup of coffee and diving into any emails or plans that have been put on my work spreadsheet by my supervisor or other members of Home, Inc. I attend staff or partnership meetings throughout the day, as well as sometimes meeting clients or going to different rentals around Yellow Springs to manage maintenance work and homeowner problems. At the end of the day, I spray down the office with disinfectant and close everything up.

This nonprofit organization ended up fitting into my career and educational goals perfectly. All I wanted out of this co-op was to impact the world in some type of way with community service and potentially breaking a status quo or statistic. I wanted to be a participant in something that would impact Yellow Springs or another place in a huge way and make it a better living environment for all races and ethnicities.

To anyone who sees this post and is thinking of trying this as a co-op, I would recommend it. Home, Inc. is a great example of an organization dedicating all its resources carefully so that it can achieve its desired purpose. I would say that this is definitely the kind of co-op where you have to be able to give a part of yourself to the community and not expect glory or recognition but, instead, expect to change yourself and to advocate for those that cannot.


 

Memory Book for The Senior Youth

Jun 10, 2021
 

Making memories while trying to stay alive. 

For the majority of the 2021 highschool graduates, it has been an extremely difficult and tiring time trying to make it through their final year of grade school. And to top it all off, it was done during the merciless Covid-19 pandemic. My old highschool, Uplift Williams Prepatory, has done an amazing job trying to give these seniors the most normal high school experience they could have and I feel extremely lucky helping design their memory book, also known as, yearbook.

Playing with Digital Design

Learning to do digital art was one of the main reasons I chose to work with my old school and design the memory book theme.  Throughout this process, I have been using the app Sketchable on my computer to start practicing and eventually finalize the cover.

Workplace with no “place” 

Though my work for this co-op was online, I had the option of going to school physically. This was interesting since it would be my first time going back since graduating online back in April. I decided it was best not to however, because really what I was doing was creating and working creatively, and I think I needed a space where I would feel comfortable doing so. With all that, I chose to work from home which made the entire co-op experience slightly less social, but overall I feel like I was able to focus more on work.

Including socialization in other ways

Wishing I could socialize through my co-op job, I decided it was best to take this time to focus more on what I could get out of this co-op experience. It took me a while to realize that working from a distance did not mean that I could not have social interactions and still learn from others. Throughout these past few months I have gotten back in touch with old friends who worked with digital media and was able to get some tips from them. Not only that, but through this I was gifted the opportunity to get in contact with some old high school teachers which is always a breath of fresh air and a nice reminder of who some of your role models were.

Final cover…well almost.

Though we still have a bit to do before the memory book is final, here is a sliver of what I have learned to do with these past few weeks..
Overall, though my co-op has not been as extravagant and fascinating as others, I really learned a lot about myself and how I work through this experience. I had a really great time getting to dedicate time to work on my artistic skills overall and I am extremely grateful for the entire project.

 

Captured Moments in Time: Johnson ’24 at Shutterbug Photography in Monroe, Louisiana

Jun 07, 2021
 
When I thought of working for my aunt with her photography business, I thought it was a perfect idea. I liked taking pictures of nature and I believed it would be a perfect first co-op. My aunt owns Shutterbug Photography in Monroe, Louisiana. Her main clients are typically families with young children to infants.
When I take pictures, I prefer nature not people. It was quite an adjustment to make. Being here makes me see photography in a different light. It was an amazing feeling to capture a two year old’s cake smash or a sixteen year old’s birthday. I see why my aunt dedicates herself to photography. She captures people and emotion in her pictures. I capture nature’s beauty in mine.
My aunt decided to take my cousins and I to Hot Springs, Arkansas. During this trip, I had the opportunity to take a lot of pictures of nature. Hot Springs is a beautiful town filled with crystals, ghost stories, beautiful landmarks and people. My aunt has been teaching me about healing stones and tarot cards which is very popular in Hot Springs. I always thought nothing of this sort of thing, but she opened my eyes to a different way of thinking. I have been doing more research into crystals and tarot, which I now find very interesting. After Hot Springs, my aunt took us to the Buffalo River. It was absolutely beautiful. We found crystals and shells along the river then stayed in a cabin.
My eldest cousin, Caitlin, suggested we start geocaching. This was on our last day so we didn’t do much but we got an old chicken little toy after trading in a plastic cow from a coin game. It might not seem like much but the journey to find it was beautiful. I didn’t take any pictures of where we found it because it’s such a beautiful sight that a photo can’t capture it.
Besides capturing moments with a camera, I have also been working on capturing a moment with pencil and paper. I have been trying different art and drawing styles to find what suites me. I have enjoyed drawing my favorite characters from anime and tv shows. When I start a drawing, I study the subject. I want to get the drawing just right. I’m planning on doing more art as well as photography while I am on co-op. As a first co-op, this has really opened my eyes to what I want to do for a career.

 

Learning: Fortino ’17 at Glasrai Farms in Lehinch, Ireland

Dec 08, 2016
 

I’m working on glasraí farms in Lehinch Ireland as a WWOOFer (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Aoife and Joe are the owners of a start up farm with the ideal that their practices will be better for the environment than standard organic practices. At the moment, they are growing potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, kale, zucchini, cucumber, beans, and a variety of leafy greens with the hopes that next season – with another polytunnel and shed being built – they will double their crops by this time next year. Their practices are holistic, and ideas about how to save the humans on this world are realistic. While raising their small child, Aoife and Joe are doing their best to contribute to the image of the world they want to see for their child and children like her.

After only being here a short while, I have eaten amazing food, and worked to the point of exhaustion. I have come to the conclusion that I, as a filmmaker, have no right to have opinions about farmers and the methods they practice. In class, especially during global seminar food, we have created ideas and opinions in our heads about food and what it would take to feed the world. I had made opinions and judgements about traditional farmers without even realizing it. Before I came here, I would condemn traditional farmers and wonder why they farmed the way they did without any care for the environment or the chemicals that the consumer would eat. I would wonder why anyone would farm traditionally, for it wouldn’t take much to all of a sudden switch to collectively farm organically.

What do I – a 20 year old film student – have anything productive to say about farming to a 75 year old dairy farmer who has been milking cows since they were sixteen? I visited Joe’s father’s conventional dairy farm and helped Joe milk some of the cows while his father was away. This is their life, he will stand in what looks a bit like a large cement trough and connect automatic milkers to over sixty cows twice a day. This will take him at least five hours, and that is a fairly small operation. The farm is only able to keep going being of its 100 plus cows kept for meat. The cows have much room to graze, and seem to be happy. I have heard of much worse operations, but after helping for just a bit, I have realized I have no grounds to judge. A way of life cannot be judged by someone who knows nothing about it. I don’t agree with drinking milk, in-fact I’m lactose intolerant, but milk is Joe’s father’s life. It is what makes him him. When people ask what he does, he will answer, I milk cows.

My opinions about how to farm sustainably should not be used to judge those who have built their lives upon conventional farming. The world has changed around them, and perhaps Joe’s father started with only 15 cows and that suited him fine. The world grew larger and he had to change his methods to meet the demands. Before my generation, he was farming just fine, the world was alright. But things change, and who am I to blame him for changing?

As a filmmaker, you may be wondering what I’m doing on any type of farm. Along with gathering footage for a film I plan to submit to 30(ish) Frames Per Second: A Yellow Springs Film Festival a film and video festival that I am organizing and hosting for my senior project, I am also learning to live the way that I want to when I leave Antioch. I am building polytunnels to grow things throughout the winter. I spend an entire morning spraying crops with a tea made from horsetail that keeps the nightshades from getting blight. I am helping roof a barn, and make a stone wall without cement. I am living in a house that gets all of its water from the rain, and heat its water with solar panels. If I want to be the generation that makes a difference in the world, I cannot wonder why people like Joe’s father does not become organic. I can not try to change the people who have established their lives mono-cropping corn in Ohio. I can only learn from their children who wish to farm differently because their lives are not wholly connected to conventional farming the way their parents are.

This experience has not only given me insight into how I want to live my life, but how I frame my thoughts. It is up to me to do what I think is right, and then when I miscalculate and mess up, it will be up to my children to learn from my mistakes. There are many things at play with farming, and it would unfair not consider the farmer in the equation when we think about feeding the world as we often do. The farmer is pushed to the corner of our minds and left to bend to the wants and wills of the consumer. I will do my best to grow my own food, and live sustainably. I will do my best to incorporate these thoughts and ideologies into my filmmaking. I will do my best to live the life I want to see in the world. But I know that I will not be farming for the consumer. I will not have to answer to the constantly growing demands, and wonder if what I’m doing is what I want to do. I will do my best not to judge those before me, but instead learn from them, and perhaps respectfully disagree, while still understanding what they do is their life. I want to open my mind, and I want to do what I can to fix the humans living on this world. That is what this co-op has taught me.

Visit glasraí’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/glasrai/?fref=ts