Deacon Warner

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HomeArtistsDeacon Warner

Deacon Warner has taught filmmaking to youth in the Twin Cities since 2007. As Youth Programs Director at FilmNorth in Saint Paul he has led after school programming, summer camps, in-school residencies and professional opportunities. He is also the lead instructor for FilmNorth Academy, a summer institute for students pursuing a career in film. During the summer of 2020, Deacon converted that in-person program to a nine week online program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an independent filmmaker, he has produced and directed a number of short documentaries including the award winning Bee-Sharp Honeybee and Peaceful Warriors: on the road with Vets for Peace. He is currently completing post-production on his first feature documentary, The Co-op Wars. Before working at FilmNorth, Deacon was a social studies teacher at North High in Minneapolis and founder of the Polar Producers after-school documentary team.

Learn more about Deacon:

More About the Artist

Deacon got involved in filmmaking through his work as a classroom social studies teacher. While teaching a 6th grade class at Minneapolis Franklin Middle School in 2002, he had the opportunity to work with teaching artist Usry Alleyne. Usry led the class and Deacon through the process of planning, filming and editing a series of public service announcements on issues of importance to the kids in the class. The projects seemed to work miracles on the students. Even the most distractible kids became engaged and committed to their projects. Deacon was amazed at the skill sets the film projects enhanced: collaboration, research, communication skills, computer skills, acting, composition, problem solving, and more. And beyond those skills, he saw the empowerment it brought to the students to give them a voice to make real statements about their communities and the world around them.

Deacon was hooked. In 2007 he made the choice to invest himself more fully in youth media as well as his own film work. As with his own work, he believes students benefit most from hands-on learning and the opportunity to take the lessons from one project and bring them to the next. The best way to get better as a filmmaker is to continue to make more films. Deacon deeply loves being able to bring that opportunity to more and more students.

Learn more about Deacon in his October 2020 Artist Spotlight Interview.

Program Offerings



Filmmaking can offer youth the opportunity to explore issues in their local communities and make powerful statements about the world around them. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are an easily approachable documentary format that involves topical research with creative digital storytelling. Mobile phones and editing software are all that’s needed to create a film that can reach an audience and make an impact.

Video Poems

Video poems are an excellent first foray into narrative filmmaking. Video poem residencies generally work through three projects of increasing complexity. A full-class video poem is created on the first day of the residency. Haiku poems provide a simple introduction to A/V scripting and understanding of a-roll and b-roll and allow each student to create their own film. And a final small group poem project allows students the experience of working collaboratively and assigning roles to achieve higher production values.

Document the Project

A documentary filmmaking project can be an excellent add-on to other school projects and offer the opportunity to create a powerful document of student work and outcomes. Usually working with a select group of students interested in filmmaking, students plan, shoot and edit a documentary about their own school’s activities. These films can then be shared widely through social media, local cable access station broadcasts and film festival submissions. and help promote the good work happening in schools.


Video Poems

Video poem workshops can also be offered as stand alone one-day workshops for students of any age or one-on-one activities in a variety of settings.

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    COMPAS is an arts education nonprofit that puts creativity in the hands of Minnesotans, regardless of their age, background, or skills. Based in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, COMPAS teaching artists deliver creative experiences and arts programming across Minnesota.

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