The Digital Storytelling Program was created to provide filmmaking access to a community that would not have had it otherwise. Over the course of eight weeks, New York Film Academy staff taught filmmaking to high schoolers from Liberation Diploma Plus High School in Coney Island. Each student wrote and directed his or her own short film, which will culminate in a screening this upcoming January 2017.
The project aims to create a fun and artistic opportunity for both students and teachers, and more importantly, gives students the opportunity to share their stories and voices through the medium of filmmaking.
“I believe change begins when those unaffected become just as outraged as the affected,” said Director of Youth Programs, Kenzie Ross. “With programs like this, young people can begin to believe in their voice, their creative mind and their empathy for others through storytelling. Human stories are why we love film so much and why we connect to timeless lessons time and time again. All humans and their stories need to be heard, not just the educated or elite. Art has no boundaries.”
“I loved the editing classes the most. That was good fun and I probably learned the most in that class,” said one of the high school students, Jamie.
“I liked the actual shooting of our films and being behind the camera,” added another student, Jay. “If [NYFA] does these classes again we would want to come.”
Sadly, at a lot of schools the first thing to go due to budget cuts is the arts program, when in fact it’s so important to allow for creative thinking. “Our focus is not to simply help facilitate the next generation of filmmakers and encourage self expression, but also enable students to develop interpersonal skills they can apply to any aspect of life, through team work, leadership, problem solving, etc,” said NYFA’s Rabia Mirza.
It’s been an amazing experience working with the wonderful group filmmakers from Liberation Diploma. We look forward to screening their wonderful short films this upcoming January 2017!