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A Close-Up Shot of Ferguson’s Most Inspiring Teacher

Juan Moreno has been the sole, longstanding film teacher at John A. Ferguson, showcasing an outreach of creativity and innovation that inspires aspiring filmmakers and movie lovers in the school alike.

Mr. Moreno moved from Granada, Nicaragua, to Miami at age 9, and has lived here since 1984. Film has been a big part of Moreno’s life since he was a little kid. 

“The movie that made me fall in love with filmmaking was the 1989 Batman. I have never seen anything like that before, so different, so original; the style blew my mind,” says Moreno. 

He also gets a lot of inspiration from directors whom he considers pioneers in the film industry such as Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese. 

“I just love watching their movies, not just the style but what the movie is about, and how they do a deep dive into their characters’ lives and explore what they are going through,” says Moreno. 

In high school, Moreno wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting. However, working in that particular industry did not match his expectations, so he shifted his interests to education where he has carved out a lengthy and successful tenure for himself. 

”I have been teaching for 24 years, and the last 12 or 13 years have been teaching film. I started out as a Special Education teacher for my first 7 years. Then, I got my masters in history and I taught social studies for a few years, but the opportunity to teach film came around and the rest is history,” commented Moreno. 

Although he did not start his career in education as a Film teacher, Moreno transformed the Ferguson Film program. 

“There was a lot of interest in the program so I took the reins and now there’s 4 levels of film – Regular Film, Honors Film, IB film, and Dual Enrollment Film program,” said Moreno. “I love teaching all of them because I get to talk about movies all day,” he adds. 

Watching him teach, you could tell Moreno is very passionate about what he does. He cares about his students and makes the utmost effort to engage them in the lesson. 

Moreno also talks about his love for traveling. This year he will be taking some of his students on a trip to Chicago in order to add to the long catalog of inspiring experiences that he has organized to enhance their creativity.

He is very proud of his students and the art they make, speaking highly of the movies made by them that end up receiving any level of recognition in the outside world – film festival nominees or award winners among others.

“I want my students to enjoy the class, and if there are any that are bold enough to enter the industry, it is satisfying to know I had a little part in that. Although most of the work is done by them, at least I was part of that process.”

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