The Reel Youth Stories Project empowers youth to tell their stories through “Tabletop Filmmaking,” an innovative approach that adapts the filmmaking process to fit the size of a table. Created by filmmakers and educators Jason Jaacks and Clare Rok, the Project combines technical filmmaking skills with developing a social conscience and an appreciation of the arts.
During the Spring Semester 2012, The Reel Youth Stories Project will partner with Citizen Schools at De Vargas Middle School. The Project will serve 18-20 7th and 8th grade students, who will work together to produce three short Tabletop films that explore issues that they feel are important to their communities. Throughout the process, students explore more than film production. They learn how to work together and connect to art. They also develop media literacy skills and learn how to enact positive change through art. The Project provides students with the opportunity to explore a variety of artistic mediums and career paths – from filmmakers and photographers to visual artists and creative writers – students can find a niche in which they feel successful. The Project will conclude with several screenings of the students’ films at local venues, which will include panel discussions with the filmmakers.