The Factory kicks off its 2011 Community Filmmaking Partnerships

Posted on: Monday, June 27 2011

Each summer as the school year comes to an end, The Factory program at BAVC shifts its focus.  While during the school year students in The Factory design and carry out their own independent short film productions, the program takes advantage of the summer schedule by collaborating with community organizations around the Bay Area and producing short films that feature the organization's work.

These organizations are non-profits who themselves are serving the community in some way.  Factory students are placed into small groups, and each group is assigned a partner organization.  It is the students' responsibility to research the organization, come up with a compelling story, conduct interviews, gather footage, and edit a short film together over the course of about 7 weeks.  In exchange for all of this hard work, the students have a paid summer job - and the organizations have a video that can bring more attention to their organization (for their website, funders, volunteers, etc.).

Last year the films that came out of these Community Filmmaking Partnerships have won major awards at 7 national film festivals so far, have played in dozens of others, and are still being accepted to more.

Last week marked the kick-off of our 2011 C.F.P.s.  The Factory has partnered with four organizations this year: The Huey P. Newton Foundation, City Slicker Farms, Inspire USA, and Creative Growth.  Our students spent their first week brushing up on their documentary skills, researching their organizations, and conducting their first visits with their partner organizations.

The students working with City Slicker Farms volunteered on two different days at the organization's urban farm sites in West Oakland:

Factory students volunteer at C.S.F.

Students in the Creative Growth group took the volunteer orientation tour at the facility and met with some of the staff, and the students working with Inspire USA and The Huey P. Newton Foundation conducted research and set up site visits for this coming week. 

By last Friday every group was ready to pitch their initial ideas to their peers.  One of the greatest parts about these summer collaborations is that The Factory students are the ones guiding the process.  They choose what stories they want to focus on - these are not simply commercials for the partner organizations, they are films that speak to specific issues and themes coming out of the work the organizations do.  As such, they are incredibly powerful.

Factory students pitch ideas

In addition to the short film component, this year The Factory students are continuing their work with Mozilla and creating a web-native component to their C.F.P. project.  This means that by the end of the summer the students will have also designed and created an interactive story - one that can only exist using the power of the web.  The initial ideas being prepared for that are also highly powerful and motivated concepts that look to take these stories to a whole new level.

It's an exciting time at The Factory - so be sure to keep an eye out for the final products!  Our end of the year screening is on August 27th - which is when all of the individual projects and these C.F.P. projects will premiere...