Grand Street Community Arts’ Youth FX, summer filmmaking program for teens has had an incredible summer so far as we are well into the third year of our program. This summer we were excited to expand our program to 20 teens, thanks in part to a grant from the Charles Touhey Foundation. Those 20 teens have been hard at work (and play) learning the many aspects of digital filmmaking. Youth FX facilitators Bhawin Suchak and Gaetano Vacarro have been teaching workshops on cinematography, sound, acting and editing. Visiting artists like Micah Magee, on residency from Berlin, Germany, and local filmmaker Karen Christina Jones came in to talk about their projects and the art of filmmaking. We have already filmed three documentaries and will be editing them during the last week of our program, and are in the midst of production of our two short film projects.
It is a great accomplishment that we have seven teens who are now in their third year of the program. They are experienced filmmakers and act as peer leaders in the group. We also have been able to pay eight youth as peer leaders through the City of Albany’s Summer Youth Employment Program. Two of those teens, Malcolm and Imani, are brand new to Youth FX and to filmmaking and we have been very impressed with their talents and leadership skills. Malcolm is a natural born actor with a flair for storytelling. He has helped visualize and strengthen the script for his group’s final short film project, a comedy about four untalented rappers. Imani has emerged as a natural director, helping to organize the projects she has been involved in from making phone calls and securing locations to determining who will be cast and crew during the shoot. Overall it has been an incredible summer so far and we can’t wait to see how all these amazing short films turn out – keep an eye for our premiere in the fall.
Youth FX, a program of Grand Street Community Arts, is a six-week intensive hands-on summer program designed to introduce inner-city teens aged 14-18 to the artistic and technical process of digital filmmaking by offering a thorough overview of the production process from script to screen. Focusing on film aesthetics, visual storytelling and narrative structure; participants create numerous video projects in various genres, including documentary, experimental, narrative short films and public service announcements. Youth FX participants work with experienced digital media instructors, filmmakers and artists to learn the various many aspects of video production such as cinematography, lighting, sound and editing. Youth FX puts the tools of media production in the hands of youth with guidance from skilled artists, enabling them to express their voice and create positive change in their lives and their communities.