Sunday, July 12, 2009

Video/Filmmakers Club

When I signed on to work at Cabrini Connections I was especially excited about the prospect of sustaining Innervision Youth Productions (IYP), a video creation project that began in 1996. At Northwestern I spent a year in the Radio/Television/Film department going through their core curriculum of media studies and production courses. Movies have always been one of my greatest pleasures, so naturally I enjoyed learning about the filmmaking process from script to screen. Furthermore, exposure to an ample amount of social issue media cemented my feeling that film can be an agent for social change. Films do not have to be an escape. They can represent reality and command action. And now, with increased access to video equipment and the internet, almost anyone can create and view movies. IYP aims to capitalize on this enterprise to tell the story of Cabrini Connections and its students.

For the past 3 years a group of teens have been working on a video documentary of the changes in Cabrini Green and the impact of living in public housing on the lives of our teens and families. Volunteer Rebecca Parrish of Interchange Productions facilitated them through the process and helped them learn the skills needed to make the film. A portion of their documentary, "Cabrini Green, 'This is What I Know': Our Lives, Our Truths, Our Stories," can be viewed below. Copies of the full 26-minute movie are available on DVD for a donation of $15. E-mail me if you would like to place an order.

Cabrini Green, "This is What I Know" from Rebecca Parrish on Vimeo.

As that project came to an end, though, IYP was left on hiatus. A new volunteer was needed to lead the group and provide access to equipment. On my second day on the job, that person dropped right out of the sky and into our office. Michael Alexander, president of Conscious Planet Media, plans to lead the new Video/Filmmakers Club into the 2009-2010 academic year. Mr. Alexander has spent several years now producing and hosting original TV content for the conscious marketplace and his company is creating the first Platinum-LEED Green TV Studio at Chicago's Green Exchange.

The new club will tentatively work on a 10-week schedule. Six weeks will be devoted to lessons in storytelling, editing, audio, etc. and four weeks will be devoted to a project. The first project will likely be a documentary on our program with interviews from students and coverage of our events. Ultimately the club will work as a training program. Students who complete the curriculum will, in coming quarters, help train new members. Experienced students will also have the opportunity to hone in on the duties they enjoy most, such as cinematography or lighting.

Eventually the Video/Filmmakers Club may also collaborate with other clubs. The writing club could write a script; the tech club could create graphics for post-production; and the art club could design costumes and sets. In the long term, one of our goals is to have a self-sustaining movie crew. For any event, we could mobilize our club members to document the occasion and sharpen their skills in the process. Such training also puts them in line for a host of jobs in the future. The filmmaking business continues to be lucrative and is even expanding as more and more videos are produced for the internet. As the new media revolution carries on, we want our students to be competitive in the marketplace. Best of all, it's fun, too! I can't wait to get started!

The summer club will have its first meeting on Monday, July 27th. If you would like to help support this program, either by making a monetary contribution or volunteering your own skills or resources, please contact me. Thanks!

No comments:

Post a Comment