Tagged: philadelphia center for arts and technology

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.

 

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.”

 

 

On-The-Set of GATEWAY: Student Footage

30 August 2011 ~ 0 Comments

On Sunday, August 14 Big Picture Alliance REELFilm students Abdul Wali-Shoatz (and father Hassan Oji), Raquel Johnson and Jasmine Gorham spent the day on-set for GATEWAY. They used flip-cameras to document their experiences.  The following is their footage and their vision:

 

BPA Offers Philly Teens GATEWAY Opportunity For On-The-Set Learning

16 August 2011 ~ 1 Comment

On Sunday, August 14 Big Picture Alliance REEL Film students from the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology got a REAL opportunity to learn.

Student Working With Camera Dolly

In their six-week, summer media program REEL Film Experience students learned about film and media while developing introductory skills in documentary filmmaking.  On Sunday, three of those students traveled to the Gallery at Market East to continue their learning by being on-set for the filming of a scene from Big Picture Alliance’s upcoming documentary, GATEWAY.

“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.”

The students in attendance were Abdul Wali Shoatz (Murrell Dobbins CTE HS), Raquel Johnson (Philadelphia HS for The Creative & Performing Arts) and Jasmine Gorham (Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Center).

Wali Shoatz, Johnson and Gorham dove head first into working side-by-side with Big Picture Alliance’s GATEWAY director Christopher Ambolino to set up film equipment, man the camera, and collaborate with the actors (HPM-featured dancer Nyla Shorustamova as well as six of the HPM muralists).

To document the day and their on-set involvement, students used classroom flip-cameras to record their unique perspectives.  Click here to view photos  from the day.  Click here to view the student’s video footage.

GATEWAY chronicles the making of The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s How Philly Moves (HPM), the 50,000 square foot mural spans the parking decks facing Interstate 95 (that’s the size of four football fields combined!).  HPM was inspired by J. J. Tiziou’s dance-photography and led by MAP’s lead muralist, Jon Laidacker.

GATEWAY is made possible through the generous support of Saul Ewing LLC, Pennsylvania State Film Commission, Big Picture Board of Directors, and additional in-kind support from the City of Philadelphia, Hertz, Avis, and The Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

Save the Date(s): Thursday, August 11 and Friday, August 12

04 August 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Join us as we celebrate student-produced work from the “REEL Film Experience”, Big Picture Alliance’s six-week  summer media arts programs at the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology (PCAT) and Asian Arts Initiative (AAI) plus student-work from the Delphi Teen Media Summer Program, a cooperative program between Big Picture Alliance, Nueva Esperanza Charter Academy, Taller Puertorriqueño and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

We hope you can join us for one, two or all three of the screenings!

Click on the screening titles below to visit each event homepage.  All events are FREE and open to the public.

 

REEL Film Experience @ PCAT Screening
Thursday, August 11
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
2111-31 Eastburn Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19138
 
 
 
REEL Film Experience @ AAI Screening
Friday, August 12
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
 
Delphi Teen Media Summer Program Screening
Friday, August 12
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
26th Street & Ben Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130