Youth Films at the Frontier of Digital Storytelling
The Factory Year-End Screening
Last Saturday, August 27th, I had the privilege of watching the frontier of digital storytelling being made. No, I wasn't at Google's YouTube office. I was in downtown Berkeley at the Pacific Film Archive, where diverse youth presented their film projects to a captivated audience.
The youth presenting are part of The Factory, a project of the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), that provides advanced filmmaking training for youth. Fifteen young filmmakers created twenty films, including narrative shorts, documentaries, music videos, and Public Service Announcements, for the Factory Year-End Screening.
One of the youth, Zoe Salnave, produced a video exploring Bay Area high schooler’s relationship to race and ethnicity called, “Greater than Color”, which you can watch here. Although initially drawn to photography and traditional journalism, Zoe found herself drawn to filmmaking, and the fact that it was, “tough but rewarding” and had a strong storytelling element. Zoe will be pursuing video production and journalism in her future career.
Carol Salnave, Zoe’s mother, shared that BAVC’s programs helped Zoe, “come into her own, become very confident in her ability as well as grow her self-esteem.”
Web Made Movies
Factory participants also showcased innovative web-made movies. Native to the web through an HTML5 framework called Popcorn, this framework was built by Mozilla and piloted by the youth of the Factory. In web-made movies, wiki links and google maps pop up throughout the narrative, allowing viewers to click beyond the movie page to other information.
Ray Archila, a student at Hillsdale College, shared how producing a web-made movie differs from traditional media. “You have to think of how users will interact with the video, what would grasp their interest, and then bring them back to the film.”
Through collaboration between ZeroDivide, Mozilla, and BAVC, these youth are being enabled as leaders in technology and social media. Jason Jakaitis, the manager of the Factory, is hopeful this collaboration will lead to, “greater new media presence and an understanding of new distribution models for the program participants in the Factory.” He asked, “How do we get our videos out to the world? We have to build up our web technology muscles in order to get our stuff out in front of the most eyeballs.”
At ZeroDivide, we are proud to be supporting the next generation of young, diverse social media leaders. To learn more about the collaboration between BAVC's Factory, Mozilla, and ZeroDivide, click here.
You can see more of the youths’ shorts here about the Creative Growth youth arts program in Oakland, Cultivating Community in West Oakland through City Slicker Farms, and a reflection the Factory programs.