News

Thank You: Allen Hilles, Enon Baptist, Matthews Family Foundation

13 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

REELFilm Experience students work closely with a BPA Media Instructor to learn basic camera skills.

Heartfelt thanks to The Allen Hilles Fund, Enon Baptist Community Ministries & The Matthews Family Foundation for their support of Big Picture Alliance and our REELFilm Experience programs in the coming year!  It’s thanks to supporters like these that we can continue to engage, educate and expose youth to the world of media arts, literacy and filmmaking in 2012 and beyond!

Want to support Big Picture Alliance?  Click here.

Does your company match?  Remember our United Way Donor Choice #10298.

From all of us at Big Picture Alliance, Thank you!

BPA Media Instructor “Matters”

25 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Cabral working with a student in BPA's REEL Film Experience 2011

BPA Media Instructor Nuala Cabral is a jack of all trades. In addition to her teaching, she is also a filmmaker who actively supports the anti-street harassment movement and is the co-founder of a Philadelphia-based media literacy project, FAAN Mail.

Walking  Home, one of Cabrals’ more recent films, won the “Speaking Out Award” at the Media That Matters festival in New York City .  This festival is a premiere showcase for short films that inspire action on the most important topics relating to both local and global communities.  It’s only natural that Cabral’s poetic film about street harassment (from the unique perspective of women who are harassed) was selected for this honorable project.

“Walking Home” will be screened in NYC on Thursday, October 27 at the SVA Theatre.

Sending her a big congratulations for this honor!

CAFe 2011 Community-Made Video

19 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

On Sunday, Big Picture Alliance was one of many outstanding arts and environmental organizations to participate in the CAFe Community Arts Festival which featured a full day of arts, environmental education, and fun!  Additionally each organization presented one interactive, engaging activity for attendees.

Big Picture Alliance helped the community to learn about digital arts and filmmaking by allowing participants to use flip cameras to film the event.  This video is a collective effort created by CAFe attendees and participating organizations and edited by a Big Picture Alliance staff member.  Great work, CAFe!

 

CAFe 2011 is a community arts festival presented by InLiquid, Crane Arts, Kensington South Neighborhood Advisory Council and ArtsRising.

REEL Film Student Awarded Prestigious WHYY Youth Media Award

14 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Congratulations to BPA student Jessica Lynn Grose for being one of 17 finalists in the WHYY Youth Media Awards, honoring the best works by young filmmakers in WHYY’s broadcast area.  Jessica’s exceptional piece entitled Reflections, which was produced this summer during BPA’s REEL Film Experience at the Philadelphia Center for Arts & Technology, took 3rd place in the Open Category and 1st Place in the Judges Award Category!

Reflections, along with the 16 other student works, were screened at the awards presentation on Thursday, October 13 in the Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Commons at WHYY.

Here is Jessica’s “reflection” on her experiences with BPA this summer:

“Coming to this program [REEL Film Experience] has completely expanded my repertoire,” says Grose, “and being able to learn more about what I love [filmmaking] is such an opportunity for me, it has been such fun.”

Jessica Lynn Grose is 15-years-old and attends Norristown Area High School.  She is involved in marching band, concert band, drama, and field hockey.  She is a singer and songwriter who also plays several instruments including saxophone and piano. In fact, the song featured in Reflections was both written and performed by Grose.

 

Philadelphia Education Fund Video Contest

13 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

This month the Math + Science Coalition, a division of the Philadelphia Education Fund, is hosting their first-ever Student Video Contest.

WHO
Students in grades 6 -12 who attend a Philadelphia Public School (including Charters)
 
WHAT
Create a 30 to 60 second video answering: “Why is math and/or science is important to you?”
 
WHEN
Video Submission Deadline is 12 p.m. (noon) on Wednesday, October 26
 
PRIZES
$250 classroom funds, $100 in iTunes gift certificates, a visit to the professional recording
studio where artist Jill Scott records, and the winning videos will be featured in a media campaign!
 

For more information, visit the contest website and Facebook page.

CAFe Community Arts Fest

13 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

This Sunday, October 16 Big Picture Alliance will have a table at the CAFe Community Arts Festival; a full day of arts, environmental education, and fun for all ages! The  festival will feature live music, food, drink, and tables for interactive activities by various arts and environmental organizations.

Big Picture Alliance’s table will host a fun “video activity” for attendees, demo reels, informational packets and more!

This event is FREE and open to the public, rain or shine, so come out and support BPA and other Philadelphia arts and environmental organizations!  For more information, visit www.inliquid.org/features/cafe2011

CAFe 2011 is presented by InLiquid, Crane Arts, Kensington South Neighborhood Advisory Council, and ArtsRising.

Youth Media Programs in Philadelphia Band Together to Support Youth

10 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Organizations that help Philadelphia youth build self-expression and creative skills through digital media production are banding together to increase visibility of youth media programs in the city through the Philadelphia Youth Media Collaborative (PYMC).   Last week the PYMC received a $50,000 grant to continue to build a vibrant network of youth-serving media organizations with expertise in youth development, youth media, and digital and media literacy in Philadelphia.

More than 3,000 young people each year in the Philadelphia region participate in a variety of youth media programs. Today, the Collaborative is able to actively move ahead to further strengthen collaboration between program providers, to increase the quality of instructional practices and programs, amplifying positive youth voices, while making youth media a larger part of the public discourse in Philadelphia.

The PYMC was started in 2009 when representatives from local media organizations, including Big Picture Alliance, WHYY Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons, YES Philly, the Media Education Lab at Temple University,  PhillyCAM, the University Community Collaborative of Philadelphia, PhillyCAM, Scribe Video Center, Spiral Q Puppet Theater, and the Mural Arts Program started to meet regularly for information exchange and networking.

According to Gretjen Clausing, Executive Director of PhillyCAM, “The PYMC will bring more visibility and better connections between organizations, while creating a space for youth to actively engaged in media creation and distribution to talk about issues of importance to them.”

The Philadelphia Foundation, a public charity, is Southeastern Pennsylvania’s leading center for community philanthropic engagement and is committed to improving the quality of life in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties through funds established by its donors. Established in 1918, The Philadelphia Foundation continues to help donors harness their generosity and vision by providing tools, knowledge and financial stewardship directed to maximize the strategic impact of charitable contributions. Grants from more than 775 charitable funds strengthen the effectiveness of nonprofits and support programs that are vital to the people of this region.

Sizzlin’ Summer Recap

05 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

An earthquake, a hurricane and a tornado couldn’t stop Big Picture Alliance from having its most exciting summer yet!

FILM JAM

BPA kicked off the season with “Film Jam 2011”, a FREE citywide screening highlighting BPA student work from the many communities BPA served throughout the 2010-2011 year both all around Philly as well as in Camden, NJ.  Students from all BPA learning communities converged to share their work with the public.  The event was held at the Asian Arts Initiative on Vine Street in Center City where the gallery and theatre space was bursting at the seams with BPA young media makers, friends and family.

The evening began with refreshments in the gallery where attendees enjoyed summer-favorites such as Rita’s Water Ice and an assortment of Philadelphia Pretzel Factory pretzels. The screening itself featured over 15 student-produced films with genres ranging from public service announcements to short feature films, including MiND TV Philadelphia Stories 8 winner “The Jerk”.

             

To date, BPA students have created over 520 films, many of which have garnered awards at nationally recognized film festivals like the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival.  BPA media-instructors have mentored more than 5,300 students throughout Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester and Camden Counties.  “Film Jam” was a vibrant portrait of this impact that will eventually be shared with an even broader community, travelling to various communities around the City and to Camden, NJ.

 

SUMMER PROGRAMS

BPA implemented our newest curriculum, The REEL Film Experience, to two programs sites: The Philadelphia Center For Arts and Technology (PCAT) and the Asian Arts Initiative (AAI).  Most impressive was the extensive breadth and depth of the curriculum where students were able to develop their technical film skills with added media-literacy and community-awareness components.

At PCAT, 16 students gathered for six hours a day, five days per week, to begin their short documentary about the Mt. Airy community in North-West Philadelphia.  They interviewed key Mt. Airyans such as Community Activist Susan Cook, as well as other leaders in the greater Philadelphia area including Ms. Patty Jackson from WDAS-FM.  Additionally, BPA Media-Instructor Nuala Cabral introduced the students to blogging and created an official “REEL Film” blog through BPA’s website.  This allowed students to blog daily about their real experiences in the program through articles, poems (link), lyrics and video-highlights (link: http://reelfilmexperience.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/week-two-exploring-media-representations-of-gender/).

“The REEL Film Experience Program is awesome,” blogged Michael Adkins, “it allows us to speak our true feelings about main important topics and they help build our intellects.”

The REEL Film Experience at Asian Arts Initiative (AAI) was led by BPA Media-Instructor Walker Zavareei who worked closely with AAI staff to incorporate their focus on immigration into the lesson plans.  Students honed their video skills (script-writing, acting, directing, sound & camera work and editing) while learning about the many issues that face Asian-American immigrants.  One of the final student-group films, DeportASIAN, creatively focused on deportation as they told the story of an Asian man facing deportation based on a minor charge from his teenage years.

In addition to PCAT and AAI, BPA celebrated its 11th year of collaboration and long-time partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Nueva Esperanza Academy Charter High School and Taller Puertorriqueno in bringing the Delphi Summer Teen Media Program to a new cohort of young media makers.  18 students gathered for six hours, five days per week, to learn lessons about media literacy interlaced with lessons in production.  From Baked To The Past, a film about maintaining traditional values in an untraditional era to the thriller-suspense Divided Loyalties; to The Mistaken which delivered not only one but two plot twists; this six-week summer intensive was a meaningful one to the youth participants.

“I’m not much of an editor; I’m an actor,” says Jennylee Burgos, “but I like to learn new things so I decided to edit this [group] film.  It was a lot of work, sweat and tears and I realized that I have a lot of patience… The challenge that I came above was for me not to just quit.  A lot of times I just wanted to quit but I said ‘No, I’m not letting my team down.’”

This summer alone, BPA programs served 55 teens from over 25 schools in underserved communities around the City.  Over 50 personal films and nine short films were created in total.  Our BPA Media-Instructors also conducted written feedback surveys and video-dialogue sessions with each student to gauge their experiences.  It was here that BPA’s impact on Philadelphia youth became crystal clear.  A funder sitting in the audience at the culminating Delphi Summer screening asked, “What would you tell a funder about whether this program is worth funding or not?”

“If a funder asked ‘is this program worth funding?’ I would say yes,” says BPA Student Reginald Coleman, “it keeps children off the streets. We have something to do every summer and we go out places and get to know other people inside of work and outside of our work.  And also because it shows our creative side and we make positive impacts around our community and then branch it worldwide through YouTube and things like that.”

 

GATEWAY

A jam-packed program line-up wasn’t the end of BPA’s summer.  Excitement continued to bubble with the filming of GATEWAY, a documentary about The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s How Philly Moves mural installment along the airport parking garage facing Interstate 95 South.  The last panel of the mural was laid on Tuesday, July 12 and was undoubtedly a chapter marker in Philadelphia history.  However, the culmination of the project will be on October 12 when the official unveiling of the mural will take place alongside a rooftop dance party.

 After the mural dedication, BPA’s production of GATEWAY will continue with interviews and additional pick up shots around the City.  Starting in mid-October, a temporary five to seven minute excerpt from GATEWAY (teaser-style) will become part of a permanent exhibit of How Philly Moves inside the airport.   An official exhibit opening will take place later on this year so stay tuned for details!

GATEWAY is Produced by BPA Executive Director Teri Yago Ryan and Directed by former BPA media-instructor, Christopher Ambolino.  BPA media instructors have served as camera operators adding this history-making doc to their filmographies.  Additionally, BPA students visit on production days to work side-by-side with BPA staff to set up equipment, run cameras and collaborate with the actors.  They also use BPA flip-cameras to do their own documenting of their work.

The beauty of both projects, How Philly Moves and GATEWAY, extends beyond the initial façade of the mural; the intricate stories of the people and organizations involved in this project are a brilliant display of civic engagement and community. Best of all, BPA media-instructors and students are collaborating on a real, work-ready production and, in this case, one that will make history.

“This is exactly why this project is so exciting to us,” says BPA Executive Director Teri Yago-Ryan, “our students are able to be a part of one of the largest public art projects the world has ever seen.  We’re building REEL to REAL experiences here.”

 

 

BPA Featured by the NEA

04 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

In celebration of National Arts & Humanities Month, the National Endowment for the Arts selects one arts organization per day in October to be featured on their Facebook page.

Click here to see BPA’s feature!

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Greater Philadelphia Film Office Executive Director Sharon Pinkenson serving as co-hosts for a BPA student screening at Murrell Dobbins CTE High School. Photo courtesy of Big Picture Alliance

 

BPA Welcomes Fall Intern

26 September 2011 ~ 0 Comments

BPA Welcomes Fall/Winter 2011-12 intern Scott “Chicharito” Hyde….

Scott Hyde is 21-years-old and currently a junior at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, studying Film & Video.  Born in Honduras (Central America) and raised in Lewisburg, PA, Scott has been interested in filmmaking since an early age.  He is especially interested in the editing process and hopes to become a full-time film editor after he graduates college.  His other interests include playing and watching soccer, watching movies, spending time with friends and family, and listening to music.  He is very excited to be an intern at Big Picture Alliance.  Click here to learn more about what Scott hopes to achieve through his co-op… and some other fun facts!

 

P.S. Don’t get the “Chicharito” reference?  Now you will.