About Reel Youth
Reel Youth Film Camp offers fun, hands-on, and educational film programs for BIPOC youth. We focus on enrolling BIPOC youth from underserved neighborhoods in Central and Southeast Seattle. Our film programs encourage, mentor, and teach students the fundamentals of storytelling through the medium of film. Courses offer one on one instruction, engaging group sessions, and hands-on training. Reel Youth Students taking part in our Film Camps will storyboard, write, produce, direct and act in their very own short film!
Reel Youth recognizes that BIPOC youth thrive when they are taught and mentored by qualified instructors who look and sound like they do; Instructors who understand the challenges and nuances unique to people of color.
One of the strengths of our program is the relationship between student and instructor. Each student’s personal experience is an essential part of our lesson plan. We maximize the investment of time we all make to come together and tell stories that are uniquely original to every group, every time. This is an entry-level course and all knowledge levels are welcome!
Reel Youth is a coalition of BIPOC artist-instructors, and film professionals based in Seattle.
We begin with the basics of filmmaking in its technical aspects. This includes the instruction of an understanding of different shots & angles, 3-point lighting, and how to tell a story within the frame. This is supplemented by a focus on developing an understanding of the (very) social nature of filmmaking. On the first day, students will learn each other’s names and favorite movies. Then, we have a conversation with one another to begin to understand where we all come from creatively. Once we’ve gotten a grasp of that, we go to work shooting our first films!
We instruct with industry-level vocabulary and students will come to understand the basic structure and culture of a production and what career roles the industry offers them. As their time working on their sets with our guidance continues, they begin to further explore the different roles a production requires. They will leave with the knowledge of the typical workload of multiple necessary roles on set; They’ll know what a standard day of shooting is like for a Producer, a Writer, and a Director. They’ll know why Hair & Makeup work so closely, and the difference between a Gaffer and Grip. They’ll achieve the confidence to call “Action!” and the wisdom to say “Cut!”
Throughout this learning process we honor that each students’ personal experience is an essential part of our lesson plan- this is a necessary understanding for their success. We tailor our days to fit the pace at which objectives are being met. By doing this, we maximize the investment of time we all make to come together and tell stories that are uniquely original to every group, every time.
Our Origin Story
In 2018, Tiffany Bennett and Obadiah Freeman (Film Camp instructors) met Ben Leiataua (Program Manager) at a week-long youth film camp located in Southeast Seattle. Although successful, they all agreed that the one thing the film camp was lacking was the participation of BIPOC students. It was ironic that the film camp took place in an area of Seattle with one of the most diverse zip codes (98188) in the United States.
They considered what could have been done to include this group of students. Some of the key issues they realized were:
1. The cost of the camp.
2. Access to the location.
3. The lack of understanding, and/or real community connections within marginalized BIPOC neighborhoods.
We decided to create a program that addresses these key barriers. It was at that moment that Reel Youth Film Camp was conceived!