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The Reel Youth Stories Project
Posted on: October 31, 2011



The Reel Youth Stories Project empowers youth to tell their stories through “Tabletop Filmmaking,” an innovative approach that adapts the filmmaking process to fit the size of a table. The Project combines technical filmmaking skills with developing a social conscience and an appreciation of the arts. During the Spring Semester 2012, The Reel Youth Stories Project will partner with Citizen Schools at De Vargas Middle School. The Project will serve 18-20 seventh and eighth grade students, who will work together to produce three short Tabletop films that explore issues that they feel are important to their communities. Throughout the process, students explore more than film production. They learn how to work together and connect to art. They also develop media literacy skills and learn how to enact positive change through art. The Reel Youth Stories Project provides students with the opportunity to explore a variety of artistic mediums and career paths – from filmmakers and photographers to visual artists and creative writers – students can find a niche in which they feel successful. The Project will conclude with several screenings of the students’ films at local venues, which will include panel discussions with the filmmakers. The Reel Youth Stories Project was created and will be implemented by Jason Jaacks, a local filmmaker and Executive Director of Cordillera Productions, and Clare Rok, the Deputy Campus Director of Citizen Schools at De Vargas Middle School.

A grant from SITE Santa Fe’s SPREAD would allow the Reel Youth Stories Project to:

–        Rental of Screening Venue

–        Provide transportation for the students to screening venue

–        Purchase Art Materials

–        DVDs for students

–        Purchase Two Flip Cameras to outfit the Student Documentary Team

–        Provide a teaching stip

–        Purchase an additional Video Projector

The Reel Youth Stories Project will take place during the Spring Semester at De Vargas Middle School. It will begin in January 2012 and conclude in May 2012. Students will meet with instructors for 90 minutes once a week for twelve weeks. Community screenings will be held in May.

Film is more than an art form – it is a transformative medium that empowers voices and creates positive change. The Reel Youth Stories Project will provide a comprehensive arts integration experience for young people at a critical stage in their development. Through the process, young people will come to realize themselves as artists, filmmakers, and storytellers all while learning how art can inspire positive change. The Reel Youth Stories Project will act as a conduit for the process of artistic creation, introducing young people to filmmaking and connecting students with the art community of Santa Fe.

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