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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 Mellon Foundation.



FALL 2016



Open to ages 16-21
Saturdays, 9-1, September 23-November 5, Morgan State University

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 is currently at work on a short documentary about parents of sons lost to street violence for the Morgan multimedia project, Mother's Lament.


Open to ages 18-29
Saturdays, 9-1, September 10-November 5, Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus

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.

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.


Open to Ages 16-21
Saturdays, 9-1, September 17-October 29, JHU-MICA Film Center

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.


Open to ages 16-29
Saturdays, 9-1, September 17-October 29, Creative Alliance, Patterson Park

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.


Open to ages 16-24
Saturdays, 1:30-5:30, September 17-October 29, JHU-MICA Film Center

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.


Open to Ages 21-29
Saturdays, September through October, location and exact times to be announced

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 18-29 (this workshop is fully enrolled)
Thursday, August 4, 5:30-7:30PM; Saturday,  August 6, 9AM-5PM; Thursday, August 11, 5:30-8:30 PM;
           Saturday,  August 13, 9AM-5PM; Thursday, August 18, 5:30-8:30PM
Motorhouse and on location

This filmmaking workshop will expose student fellows to the world of professional commercial film production.  The workshop will run as a client “assignment” to produce a short documentary film that tells the stories of three of Baltimore’s Returning Citizens.  Background: The ruling of the landmark 2013 case Unger v. State led to the release of over a hundred prisoners serving life sentences for violent crimes in Maryland.  The prisoners released on probation had typically been incarcerated in their late teens or early twenties and had served between thirty-five and forty-five years.  The film produced by this workshop will tell the stories of three of these men.  Student fellows will be working members of a professional crew and, in collaboration with the instructor, who will serve as director, will be responsible for all aspects of preproduction planning, on location filming, interviews, and editing.   No prior experience is necessary, but these paid, professional positions require fellows be present and on time for all scheduled meetings, no exceptions.  Limited to 10 student fellows.

Annette Porter is a documentary filmmaker and co-founder, with Helen Morell, of Nylon Films, UK.  Comfortable with her camera in a corporate boardroom or on a high altitude trail in Chile, she produces, directs, and shoots both stills and moving images


Ages 16-24 (this workshop is fully enrolled)
Sunday, August 7, 5:30-7:30PM; Monday, August 8, 6-8PM; Tuesday, August 9, 5:30- 7:30PM; Wednesday, August 10, 6-8PM;          Saturday, August 13, 5:30-7:30PM; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, August 22, 23, 24, 6-8PM
JHU-MICA Film Center and on location

This documentary filmmaking workshop will give fellows the real-life experience of guerilla documentary filmmaking, with a small budget, tight deadlines, location-shooting in all weather, unscheduled interviews, unplanned events, and the promise of a fresh,  engaging story.  The subject is urban fishing: Baltimore men and women of all ages and backgrounds lured to the harbor's edge by blue crab and striped bass, and simply by the pleasure of their pursuit.  The process will be one of discovery, beginning with chance encounters and developing through follow-up interviews and intensive editing.  Fellows will work collaboratively on all aspects of the project, including video and sound recording, and editing.  Limited to 8 student fellows.

Charles Cohen's most recent documentary film is The Crooked Tune, an Old Time Fiddler in a Modern World.  He holds an MFA in Film and Digital Media from American University and has written for the New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, and Baltimore City Paper.   

Amy Hodges holds a BA in Photography from Virginia Intermont College and a Master of Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins.  She enjoys urban street photography and all things documentary.




Wednesday, September 7, 5-6pm: Fall workshops recruiting event.  Meet fall instructors and their assistants at the JHU-MICA Film Center, 10 E. North Avenue.

Saturday, September 10, 5-7pm: BYFA gathering with pizza and a story booth.  All fellows, instructors, and assistants welcome.  Johns Hopkins Homewood campus: 410 516-0502 or click on "contact."

Save the Date!  Final screening, photography exhibition, and video installation for Fall Session: Saturday, November 12, 5:00pm, Johns Hopkins Homewood campus.  Followed by awarding of certificates and a reception with light refreshments.