I have to admit, I was holding my breath the whole time- having created the final compilation all 21 film submissions, hoping that every one would play clearly on the big screen and most of all, make all of the young filmmakers in the audience see what amazing things they are capable of doing. They did. The San Francisco ExCEL Afterschool Programs Student Film Festival was a huge success, with about 200 kids and families attending, a fabulous student MC and a whole lot of support from the folks at The Bridge Theater and the ExCEL staff. All of the films were created during afterschool media clubs throughout the city by kids ranging from K-12th grades. We had animation shorts, stop-motion pieces, PSA's about parents on cell-phones and violence on TV, videos showing what was special about each school, digital stories about taking care of the earth and each other...the list goes on. All together, the festival meant a chance for kids to celebrate a year of project-based learning that got them to experiment with multimedia tools in fun and meaningful ways.
This is why we do what we do. Any moment when people begin to see themselves as real media producers rather than just consumers is magical. Whether that happens in an office or a classroom or a big beautiful theater with red carpets and popcorn, doesn't matter. But I have to admit, the view from the projection room that evening was pretty amazing... Big congrats to all.
Take a look at the West Seattle Herald's coverage of Mapping Our Voices for Equality's latest workshop. We've created over 15 stories now about tobacco and obesity prevention, and have another workshop in South Park this Thursday. Take a look at some of the stories at www.mappingvoices.org. Website and map development also are starting this week...so we welcome all input and ideas as we begin to develop curriulum to use the stories as peer education and policy tools.
If you had asked us a few years ago to fly to Munich at the drop of a hat to lead a digital storytelling workshop, we’d be packing our bags. Now that Jen and I both have little ones, our wanderlust is on hold, and we were regretful to turn down the opportunity to run a second workshop in person for the HP Office for Global Social Innovation. Our travel limitations thus gave birth to our debut Virtual Digital Storytelling workshop, which we blogged about recently. Our participants have finished their stories--wonderful reflections on volunteering, social innovation, and societal change. We’ve learned a great deal through the process, a combination of webinars based on HP Virtual Rooms software and one-on-one support sessions-- and we hope to build out our virtual model over the next few months to include tutorial webcasts and step-by-step tutorials. Please take a look at a few of the stories and let us know what you think!
We weren't sure we could pull it off, and we don't want to count any story chickens before they hatch, but we are now offically half-way through our debut virtual storytelling workshop with HP's Office of Global Social Innovation. With our closest participants from Toronto, our furthest in South Africa, and the rest scattered throughout Europe, we've been delving into the ins and outs of using HP Virtual Rooms as a teaching platform. Scheduling across time zones is just one of the challenges that has presented itself! We're modeling this workshop on our three-day training, breaking it into a series of five-three hour chunks, and working with individuals on a one-on-one basis for story coaching and technical assistance along the way.
In our first session, a few weeks ago, we experimented with a virtual story circle---in many ways this was the part we were most anxious about. While experimenting with new software is fairly commonplace these days, revealing the experiences that make us who we are on a conference call...a bit less so. Fortunately, we have an intrepid group here; their stories are first person accounts of the passion behind the team's motivation to address social causes, from loss of a loved one to AIDS to growing up behind the Iron Curtain. The final stories will debut in an online screening later this month, but in the meantime you can view Aziz Mohamed's story from the November workshop. Aziz is a finalist in an HP corporate marketing competition with his story, Positive Change Empowered by HP.