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      The Baltimore Youth Film Arts Program offers city residents ages 16-29 the opportunity to learn camera skills, refine storytelling techniques, and create films and photographs to be shared at public screenings and exhibits and on the program website.  Participants are paid stipends and receive certificates for successful completion.

    Our mission is to build an online archive of Baltimore voices; a representation of our city, historical and current, real and imagined.  Be part of the project.  We want to hear from you.

                  The Baltimore Youth Film Arts Program is made possible by the support of the Johns Hopkins Film and Media Studies Program and a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.



FALL 2016


Ages 16-29
Saturdays, 9-1, September 17-October 29, Creative Alliance, Patterson Park (map)

This photography workshop will put to the test the supposed inferiority of a cheap drugstore camera.  On the streets of Baltimore student fellows will simultaneously discover and document their lives and those of the greater community via the once novel and now antiquated technology of the disposable camera.  The fellows' 4x6 photographs--both color and black and white--will be shared with the public in various ways: collaged into postcards and sent into the world on a 34-cent stamp; through personal journals illustrated with photographs cropped by kiddie scissors; through a public exhibition; and in a photo book with captions written by the fellows and an introduction written by the instructor.  The accomplishments will be tangible, both internally and externally.  Students will absorb the world they see while sharing it with others, many of whom they did not know or care to know before taking the class.  And by the close of the workshop, students will see permanence in what others view as trivial.  Limited to 12 student fellows.

For nearly 40 years, Rafael Alvarez has been writing about Baltimore while taking thousands of pictures of his hometown with disposable cameras.  A former City Desk reporter for The Baltimore Sun, Alvarez wrote for the HBO drama The Wire, and has published ten books. Educated in Catholic schools, he is a lifelong resident of Baltimore.  

Leslie Gray studies Cinematic Arts at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and hopes to inspire the community that inspired her.


Ages 18-29
Saturdays, 9-1, September 10-November 5, Brody Learning Commons 4040, Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus (map)

This filmmaking workshop will combine theory and practice. Student fellows will discover, analyze, and discuss the work of eminent international filmmakers from the silent era to contemporary cinema. Clips include the Lumière brothers, Eisenstein, Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, De Sica, Chantal Akerman, Spike Lee, and James Gray.  Fellows will then use these examples as inspiration for finding their own voices, apprenticing themselves and also responding creatively, developing distinct, personal styles.  They'll learn the basics of image analysis, shooting, sound recording, lighting, and editing.  And they'll create a collective final project in which they locate and explore their shared interests through shared work.  No prior experience or film history knowledge is necessary, but this workshop requires fellows be present and on time for all scheduled meetings without exceptions.   Limited to 12 student fellows.

Sabrina Bouarour is a lecturer and PhD candidate in film and media studies from La Sorbonne-Nouvelle in Paris. She is currently making a documentary about the Baltimore uprising.

Sage Okolo, a junior at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, has participated in numerous film theory and hands-on production courses and workshops throughout her education.  After high school she wants to pursue a career in editing and television production.  Her collaborative film The New Definition screened at the summer BYFA event on July 30, 2016.

Vanessa Richards is majoring in Film and Media Studies,  English, and Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins.  When not writing papers, she enjoys watching movies, listening to almost any genre of music, and attempting to explain what Afrofuturism is to anybody willing to listen.


Ages 16-25
Saturdays, 9-1, September 17-October 29, JHU-MICA Film Center (map)

This storytelling and filmmaking workshop is designed for student fellows whose parents are incarcerated.  It provides an opportunity for them to explore the impact of the experience on their lives, and to express themselves creatively to their parents, to each other, and to the community through short films.  They'll learn all aspects of the video diary from writing to videography, editing to music.  Each fellow will create her/his own short video diary, and individual pieces will be combined into a longer, collaborative film for distribution to correctional facilities and reentry programs for audiences whose children face the same kinds of challenges.  The film will also be shown at a public screening and on the program website.  Fellows will have final say over which parts of their stories are shared.  Limited to 12 student fellows.

Dean Radcliffe-Lynes is an Emmy Award-winning producer of specials and documentaries.  She also produces videos for nonprofit organizations and has extensive experience with content to facilitate prisoner reentry.  Clients include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Girls Advocacy Project, Inc., and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Toroes Thomas is a filmmaker and Baltimore native. While attending Morgan State University, he created a popular video blog Where's Julian?, the first project under his company Out The Box Films.  He is currently at work on a short titled The Trenches.

Trevon Tillman is a lifelong Baltimore City resident with a passion for film and documentary.  He graduated from Morgan State University in May of 2011. 

Gillian Waldo is a film major at Johns Hopkins University.  She is interested in pursing documentary filmmaking.


Ages 16-24
Saturdays, 1:30-5:30, September 17-October 29, JHU-MICA Film Center (map)

This experimental documentary workshop will explore the relationship of present to past in the communities of participating student fellows.  Fellows will gather oral histories from family members and friends about their lives and the places they know that have changed over time: a neighborhood, a store, a church, a block, an intersection.  They'll consider voices that have been excluded from dominant narratives, and the relationship between individual and collective storytelling. Students will make their own photographed and filmed images and they'll collect archival images from family, from libraries, and from historical organizations.  In collaboration with the instructor and with each other, they'll create personal films, audio histories, musical videos, and slide shows.  They'll learn the basics of photography, videography, audio recording, and editing, as well as interviewing and research techniques.  Final projects will be shared at a public screening and exhibition and on the program website.  Limited to 12 student fellows.

Jonna McKone is a filmmaker, storyteller, journalist, and interdisciplinary researcher.  Her films, photographs, and audio works have been broadcast on public radio and screened and exhibited at galleries and museums, most recently at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.


Ages 21-29
Saturdays, 10-4, September 17-October 22, LIFT (Learning Is For Tomorrow), 901 N. Milton Avenue (map)

In this digital filmmaking workshop fellows will release their imaginations to create and find their places in a fantastical Baltimore of the future.  They'll be encouraged to conceive outside of boundaries and physical laws.  Brainstorming sessions featuring poetry, art, fashion, and music will help fellows begin to free-associate as they prepare to channel the delights of the nonsensical through Adobe Creative Cloud.  Fellows will work collaboratively and independently and each will make a complete, short film.  Limited to 10 student fellows.

The Hidden Inner Me is a co-production of Baltimore Youth Film Arts, Root Branch Productions, and the Megaphone Project.

Vonnya Pettigrew is CEO of Root Branch Productions & Film Academy.  A writer and filmmaker, she has produced content for a wide range of clients, including the Discovery Channel, Disney, and Starz.

Gwen Richards is an award winning writer-producer with extensive experience in broadcast journalism and in community-based health care.


Ages 16-21
Saturdays, 9-1, September 24-November 5, Holmes Hall G-17, Morgan State University (map)

This experimental storytelling and filmmaking workshop will challenge student fellows to conceptualize, script, storyboard, and produce an ultra-short film in the spirit of Chris Marker's 1962 film, La Jetée.  In collaboration with each other and with the instructor, fellows will integrate cinematic stills, voice-over, and music into minimalist "live action" video animatics.  The workshop will provide an elemental introduction to three-act narrative form, basic cinematography, and editing, as well as the phases of content production that are the building blocks of narrative film, including (1) Scripting and Pre-visualization (2) Production (3) Post-production and Exhibition.  They'll also learn some basics of Adobe Creative Cloud, including Premiere, Parallax, and After Effects.  Their films will be shared at a public screening and on the program website.  Limited to 12 student fellows.  

Photo Motion Ultra-Short Filmmaking is a co-production of Baltimore Youth Film Arts and Morgan State University.

Keith Mehlinger is Director of the Digital Media Center and Coordinator of the Screenwriting and Animation program (SWAN) at Morgan State University.  A producer/writer/director, he produced episodes of the syndicated series, Story of a People, and has recently completed a short documentary about parents of sons lost to street violence for the Morgan multimedia project, Mother's Lament.

Jessica Pettiford is an undergraduate in the Screenwriting and Animation (SWAN) program at Morgan State University. She hopes to improve her own skills in filmmaking and animation while working with others and helping them learn something new.




Saturday, November 12, 5-8:30pm: Final screening and photography exhibition for Fall Session 110 Hodson Hall, Johns Hopkins Homewood campus.  Followed by awarding of certificates and a reception with light refreshments.  (map)

Save the Date! December 10 Storytelling Open House at Motorhouse • 1-5pm, 120 W. North Avenue • Share your story in photographs and on film.  Add your voice to the BYFA website • Food, drinks, and door prizes • Free and open to the public.