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HomeRevisiting the Factory's Summer Program
Revisiting the Factory's Summer Program
Posted on: Thursday, February 24 2011 |
by Jason Jakaitis, BAVC Factory Manager
This summer the young filmmakers at The Factory decided to step outside their comfort zone. We chose to experiment with a new model of film production, with the goal of making films that would benefit East Bay nonprofit organizations and better involve our filmmakers within their community. BAVC hired twelve Factory youth as part-time documentarians and partnered them up with three different nonprofits that had expressed a need for some kind of video project, whether for fundraising, recruiting, their website, etc.
This was a big step for The Factory and for our youth. This new model of media production – pairing our youth with real-world clients, facilitating collaboration between youth from different organizations, emphasizing the production of films with a social utility – represented a dramatic shift from The Factory’s reputation as an accomplished narrative-based production program.
We are pleased to report the summer program was a success! All our hard work resulted in quality work (videos below) and delighted clients. Now The Factory intends to integrate this new model into its school-year production calendar.
The East bay non-profits that The Factory partnered with this summer were The Hatlen Center for the Blind, The Edible Schoolyard and BAY Peace.
- The Hatlen Center for the Blind is a year-long program that works with visually-impaired teenagers who want to develop the living skills necessary to live independently. The Factory created a short video that would be used for recruiting purposes, as well as to help fundraise for a new facility in El Cerrito.
- The Edible Schoolyard was founded by Alice Waters on the campus of Martin Luther King Junior middle school in Berkeley. Comprised of an acre garden and a large kitchen facility, the Edible Schoolyard supplements student classroom learning with insights about gardening and proper eating. The Factory produced a film that would be featured on The Edible Schoolyard website.
- BAY Peace is an organization that works to provide Oakland teens with information about military recruiting practices and gives them the tools to opt out of databases like JAMRS and No Child Left Behind. The Factory made a Public Service Announcement that will be screened for more than 12,000 Oakland Unified high school students, presenting them with the information necessary to remove themselves from military recruiting databases.
One of the most rewarding aspects of our ambitious summer program was the collaboration of The Factory youth with so many different groups of engaged artists and “changemakers”. Factory youth partnered with program alumni, the larger Bay Area filmmaking community, East Bay high schools, and non-profit communities to bring these films to life.
The participants in The Factory summer program came from all over the Bay and each had a different set of skills and talents to share with the group. They included twelve Bay Area high schoolers, two NextGen-alumni interns who returned from their first year of college to work with the teens, two paid Factory assistants that were both graduates of NextGen programs, three volunteers from the Bay Area filmmaking community, and a one full Factory Manager – not to mention the hard working and endlessly patient staffs at the non-profits with which we partnered!
Our youth spent two months on their film projects – two weeks of getting to know the organizations and planning the film with their staff, two weeks of shooting, and a month of editing. When it was all over they had a screening at UC – Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive and distributed DVDs with all the year’s films.
The filmmakers were responsible for collaborating with their clients and crafting a story that met with the organizations needs but also gave the youth creative freedom. The filmmakers worked with High-Definition cameras and familiarized themselves with a “tapeless workflow” – shooting entirely to memory cards. They benefitted from having the full support of BAVC behind them, and their filmmaking skills were improved with weekly training sessions on lighting, sound recording, interviewing techniques, etc. For inspiration, they watched influential documentaries like Harlan County USA, The Thin Blue Line, and American Movie. They also got a chance to meet three local documentarians (all current- or former- BAVC staff), who screened their work and discussed their creative process.
Along with the three films produced for the East Bay nonprofits, The Factory also produced a short documentary capturing the creative process. Directed by Diem Vo, an alum of BAVC’s Digital Pathways program, the video provides a glimpse into the kind of experiences The Factory can offer its participants.
Created by Diem Vo
Here are the three films that The Factory summer program produced. All are currently in circulation with their respective organizations (via websites, recruiting mailers, fundraising efforts, etc) as well as being distributed to youth film festivals around the country.
Created by Julian Compagni-Portis, Lauren Lindberg, Sydney Matterson, Bonita Tindle
Created by Marwaun Brooks, Myquan Brooks, Brian Birchett, Stephanie Hoang
Created by Zoe Salnave, David Johnson, Stephanie Hoang
This year, The Factory has made the decision to take money usually devoted to festival travel and instead use it to fund a mobile film production unit. Teams of 3-4 Factory filmmakers will partner up with a nonprofit organization in need of a video and together they produce a movie that serves to advance the organization’s cause. The Factory will produce 3-4 such films during the school year, and we even have the funds to travel out of the state to tell an engaging and important story. These mobile production outfits will spend anywhere up to four days on location, filming their subjects. They will then return to The Factory for post-production work, sharing rough cuts with the organization throughout the process.