The Future is Here!

Last Saturday, more than 75 young storytellers joined us in Oakland for our 4th Annual Youth Media Summit and Student Film Premiere! These inspiring young people came prepared to discuss a problem in the world that they want to change through media. Many expressed dreams to see a world in which we are truly equal; a world where all of us can stay true to our authentic selves, our whole selves, and break free of limiting stereotypes. The workshops and speakers helped to give the storytellers both the language and tools needed to use their individual voices to create media that will both disrupt the gender narrative and create a fairer, more just, more equal world for everyone.

First Partner of Stockton, California Anna NtiAsare-Tubbs guided participants on how to be their own personal game-changers. Anne Contreras from Pure Edge taught mindfulness and shared the benefits of being present in storytelling. Deborah Souza Silva followed up with an incredible panel of diverse storytellers to inspire the creators to be inclusive of all people in every aspect of storytelling. Erin Kökdil, who led our Oakland Summer Youth Media Academy, spoke about embracing failure and overcoming setbacks. And Farhoud Meybodi from Wayfarer Entertainment talked about healthy masculinity, vulnerability, and finding your own path. Participants ended the incredible day brainstorming ideas for their future work and pledging to use their voices as agents of change.

The Representation Project Founder and Filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom delivered the welcoming remarks before the Student Film Premiere, which included not only the storytellers from the Youth Media Summit but members of their families and their Oakland community. Siebel Newsom shared her personal story of finding her voice as a writer, producer, and director when she set out to make her first film Miss Representation. She reminded the storytellers that they in the driver’s seat of their own stories: “Each of you has a really powerful voice and a really important point of view. And every single one of you already has everything you need to be the leader we know you can be — and that the world so desperately needs. I am so excited to see what the future brings – and to watch as you exercise your voices, share your stories, and demonstrate the change you wish to see in the world!”

In the evening, we debuted three short films that our students made this summer in our Summer Youth Media Academies. We are so proud of the films that the 12 student filmmakers! They learned concepting, storyboarding, filming, editing, production, and so much more. Along the way, they gained confidence and learned how to use media to amplify their unique and important voices for social change. We’re delighted to share them with you!

Watch the films here!

Take Action! Show your support to these dedicated change-makers who spent the day with us last Saturday by donating to our youth media programs.