Ages 20-29
Fall 2017, Learning Is For Tomorrow, Inc. (LIFT)

In this visual storytelling workshop, student fellows will create memoir-driven films built on carefully chosen moments from their lives.  In collaboration with each other and with the instructors, fellows will work on finding the story in their stories; identifying the essential elements, defining the arc, and shaping the deeply personal into art that is accessible to an audience.  They'll emphasize the concrete and specific, considering person and place, and responding to the basic questions of journalism: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.  Their films will reflect this emphasis, exploiting the materials of the real world, from locations--a playground, a church, a street corner--to clothing--an inherited jacket, a favorite pair of shoes--to a hairstyle, a book, a piece of jewelry.  The audio for their films will be equally distinct, evoking their experience through deliberately recorded sounds, from a human voice to a car horn to a dog barking to silence.  National Book Award winner Tim O'Brien writes, "Abstraction may make your head believe, but a good story, well told, will also make your kidneys believe, and your scalp and your tear ducts, your heart, and your stomach, the whole human being..."  It is the hope of the instructors that the fellows' films will make the viewer believe with their "whole human being."  While honing storytelling skills, fellows will sharpen critical thinking and learn or refine skills in digital videography, including audio-recording and editing in Adobe Premiere.  Their films will be shared on the program website and at a public screening.  Limited to 12 student fellows.

A Good Story Well Told is a co-production of Baltimore Youth Film Arts, The Megaphone Project, and Root Branch Productions.

Rafael Alvarez has been writing about Baltimore for nearly forty years.  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.

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.

Jimmy Powell, Jr., an alumnus of the Maryland Institute College of Art, is a freelance videographer and editor.  His clients include the NAACP, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, and the University of Maryland Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Gwen Richards is an award winning writer-producer with extensive experience in broadcast journalism and in community-based health care.  She sits on the board of The Megaphone Project.

Karis Robertson became interested in digital media in childhood, and has pursued her passion through a B.A in Electronic Media and Film from Towson University, and through work on film festivals and production. She is a production assistant for Morning News at Fox45, and plans to use her experiences to create films on the diversity of youth in African American culture.