This weekend concluded another successful year of partnership for Cinequest Film Festival and Adobe Youth Voices.
Starting a month ago, students from seven schools and educational programs from around the Bay Area gathered at Adobe headquarters in San Jose for a series of three Saturday workshops, the Adobe Youth Voices film camp at Cinequest.
Whereas in previous years students spent the better part of the first day of camp brainstorming and pitching project ideas, the students this year came in the door with ideas and spent only a brief period of time in a pitch session. Some students even brought preliminary clips of footage with them to camp.
“The energy in the room was like, ‘Let’s get it started as soon as possible’” said Ja Shia, an Adobe Youth Voices lead educator and Cinequest camp coordinator for the second year in a row.
The students closed the first day out with an action plan for the week, and since students were headed off for a week of vacation from school, most of them were able to complete a significant amount of filming before returning to camp the following Saturday.
Irasema Hernandez, a student at Watsonville High School, said of her filmmaking experience, “I know not everyone gets to do this, so I am very grateful.” Irasema says that it has been a challenge learning the technical knowledge necessary to create quality videos. “Media takes up a lot of time, but if you want to get good at something you have to put in the time and effort,” she explains.
Irasema has, indeed, dedicated a lot of her free time to practicing her craft, and she says she wants to be a film major when she goes on to college. One of her goals is to make documentaries that help people, and she says she dreams about traveling around the world to meet new people and make films.
Eva Miller, a student at Tennyson High School in Hayward, CA, has also developed a love for filmmaking, which has provided a refuge for her in school. Eva says she has a rough time in high school dealing with other students, and sometimes she feels alienated. Working on media projects makes her feel connected, however, and filmmaking allows Eva to express herself. “Filmmaking is challenging,” says Eva, “but the end result makes it worth the time and effort.”
One of the youngest students at Cinequest Film Camp was Liberty Ortiz, a thirteen year old who has become a kind of apprentice of Adobe Youth Voices educator DJ Ashford at Burnett Middle School in San Jose. Liberty is now the director of her school’s TV show, and along with her classmates, Liberty produces a 30 minute show each month. Liberty says she most enjoys the problem solving aspect of media making. “It’s difficult to try to figure things out and find the easiest way to accomplish a scene,” says Liberty, “but I like to brainstorm different options with my crew to solve any problems that come along.”
Liberty’s next goal is to try her hand at stop-motion animation. “It looks tough!” says Liberty, but she thinks the hard work will produce a very interesting video.
Three weeks of film camp were celebrated yesterday at Cinequest Film Festival, where students screened their finished projects to a packed house at the Camera 12 theater. William Cavada, an Adobe Youth Voices lead educator who attended the screening, says of his experience, “The stories each moved you from a personal and emotional level. It was an honor to be part of an event where young people are given the chance to express themselves.”
Also attending the event was Tasi Alabastro, a Bay Area artist and a core member of Square Marden, a media production team dedicated to truthful storytelling. Tasi served as a media mentor at all three days of Cinequest film camp. “I strived to be the mentor I needed growing up,” said Tasi about his experience. “And I know now that a mentor can stand to learn just as much from the mentored. These youth demonstrated a tenacity to tell the story they wanted to tell, and I felt they sent a clear message using movie making as an effective tool. True to the name of the camp, the Youth Voices were heard. And most inportantly, they were discussed.”
Photo credit: Tasi Alabastro