2022 Grants Challenge

South Central Film Festival's Creative Impact Academy- Youth Workshops, Screenings, and Panels

Esperanza, in collaboration with L.A. Grit Media and the Echo Park Film Center, will launch a creative impact academy that fosters educational skills training for diverse youth filmmakers in Los Angeles. Youth participants will engage with industry professionals in learning the art of movie-making at 10 workshops, wherein they may borrow film equipment to build skills in cinematography, animation, editing and more. The students will then be given the opportunity to showcase their films and gain employment experience at film festival events.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

L.A. Grit Media Echo Park Film Center Mount Saint Mary's University

What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by Snap Foundation)

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

South LA

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

According to USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative report on the representation of Hispanics and Latinos in film revealed that of the 1,447 director’s working on top grossing films, only three were women of Hispanic or Latinos origin. The erasure of marginalized communities both in front and beyond the camera is even more prevalent for people with disabilities or who identify with the LGBTQ or immigrant community. Through the film festival and workshops, we strive to create systemic change that not only leads to the inclusion of groups who are often rendered invisible, but also foster an environment of social equity, accessibility, and career development.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

In order to increase the number of women and low-income youth of color in the film and entertainment industry, Esperanza and L.A. Grit Media will build out the programming of the film festival to include additional screenings, film education workshops, and film studio tours at Paramount Pictures and Mount Saint Mary's University's school for Film, Media and Communications. Participants will be drawn to the entertainment of the Film Festival itself, but will also be given the opportunity to try their hand at creating their own film projects, meet peer creators and filmmakers, connect with industry professionals, and work at film festival events. Esperanza will partner with L.A. Grit Media to initiate a creative impact academy that serves as a launching pad for youth and emerging artists. We will continue the collaboration with the Echo Park Film Center to provide a series of filmmaking and storytelling workshops for aspiring filmmakers. Additionally, we will also work with industry professionals to provide training opportunities in the art of movie-making, including screenwriting, acting, cinematography, animation, sound and lighting, and editing that equip youth and emerging professionals with employable skills. Community members will have access to equipment and experienced professionals to gain hands-on experience in visual storytelling. The Creative Impact Academy will consist of a total of 10, 2-hour, workshops and serve a minimum of 100 participants.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

In expanding on the first public film festival geared towards storytelling and filmmaking among communities of color in South and South Central Los Angeles, Esperanza and L.A. Grit Media are facilitating new opportunities in film education for young people of color, as well as creating linkages between the public festival and film workshops that will lead to increased exposure to the film industry. While Los Angeles continues to be a city of great economic opportunities in film and entertainment, there remain intense employment disparities among women and people of color in the creative economy. The Creative Impact Academy seeks to ameliorate these disparities and create a culture of increased inclusion in filmmaking by linking low-income youth of color to film education workshops, industry experts, studio tours, and film festival employment opportunities. In effect, Los Angeles's film industry will be imbued with a new, more realistic quality of cultural and ethnic diversity.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

In order to monitor success of the creative impact academy, Esperanza and L.A. Grit Media distribute surveys to attendees of the Film Festival and other screenings, in addition to participant surveys at film skills training workshops such as those held at the Echo Park Film Center. We analyze demographics of the participants to ensure a culture of inclusion geared towards low-income people, and we also collect and analyze participant testimonials to confirm program impact and participant satisfaction. Measures of success include number of film workshops attended, number of South Central Film Festival attendees, number of Creative Impact Academy participants employed in film festival and other creative roles, and number of films produced by Creative Impact Academy participants.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 350

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

L.A. Grit Media will be producing the South Central Film Festival and will aid in facilitating all workshops for Creative Impact Academy students. The Echo Park Film Center will be a collaborative partner for workshops, and Beaux Mingus and Gi Marie politan will be training students and emerging artists in filmmaking, including areas of expertise such as editing and animation. Beaux Mingus was recently the artist-in-residence at the Echo Park Film Center and his films have been screened at many different film festivals in Los Angeles and intertiolly. Gi Marie politan is an experimental filmmaker and received her MFA in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts. Mount St. Mary's University Film and Media department will host students in studio tours.