Five years back, I was invited into a classroom of 4th grade filmmakers by my friend, producer Polo Munoz, CCO of Creating Creators. At first I was a little hesitant to believe that ten year olds were producing their own films, but one step in the door, I realized that these were not ordinary fourth graders. Take my word for it—there is nothing more disarming than a 4th grade producer asking you well articulated and blunt questions about the type of director’s prep you do before a shoot because they don’t think their director is doing enough.
Years before I was a guest in their classroom, in 2010, CEO Jessica Just and CCO Polo Munoz were developing and refining their methodology and curriculum in some of the most under-served classrooms of South Central, Los Angeles. At first only a film class, it did not take long for both Jessica and Polo to recognize the cinematic medium’s ability to enhance education through apprentice styled learning. From there, the program evolved and has continued to do so with the industry at large.
Partnering public school classrooms with professional filmmakers, Creating Creators CEO Jessica Just’s unique curriculum aligns with education standards and operates in tandem with the accredited teacher’s daily lessons. Beginning in fourth grade and carrying all the way through twelfth, the line between amateur and professional blurs as the students’ reading, writing, and communications skills grow while each student voice is empowered through the cinema arts. I’ve seen first hand production teams form from the ranks of the different classes to produce no less than a dozen unique short films that redefine the learning and social landscape of the classroom.
I vividly remember in my freshmen year at Dodge, Professor [Michael] Kowalski mentioning that one of his desires as an artist was to impact and inspire the audience in the same way that some of his favorite films and photographs had impacted and inspired him. I, too, share Professor Kowalski’s sentiment and Creating Creators provides such an opportunity. To work with the kind of film mentors and be the kind of film mentor that I would’ve benefited from as a kid allows me to impact the next generation of filmmakers and has helped me grow as an artist.
For information on the Creating Creators or to apply as a mentor, follow them on LinkedIn or visit their website at https://www.creatingcreators.net