At Hand Crank, we see film as a valuable medium of storytelling – and one of the most impactful. Students today are growing up as digital natives and can make, upload, and share a video in seconds. But making a video and producing a video are two entirely different things. One of my passions as a filmmaker is mentoring young kids and teens in how to tell the best video story they can.
In the spring, Hand Crank partnered with Reel Grrls, a feminist film nonprofit, and the Seattle International Film Festival to launch Seattle Snap Series, a weekend intensive web series production program. Small groups of middle and high school students collaborated with Hand Crank directors and production managers and local ADs and producers to create a 1-3 minute video addressing a relevant social issue. The students were free to explore whatever topics they felt needed a voice – and a voice that could be best served through video. Topics of the final shorts ranged from a satirical response to Pepsi’s controversial ad to an inventive and emotional political PSA. One of the incredible things about working with youth filmmakers is discovering the many stories they can and want to give life to as young advocates.
Making and sharing video stories is one of the most democratic ways for students to express their voice and creativity. As filmmakers, we have the opportunity to share production know-how with young people aspiring to this kind of advocacy. However in our social media-saturated environment, most students aren’t trained to recognize and carefully plan the best way to reach an audience through a video story. As a Reel Grrls mentor and Hand Crank filmmaker, my goal is to help empower young people to best share their voices and perspectives through the production process. The industry needs more intentional and thoughtful advocates and filmmakers, especially female filmmakers, and it is a wonderful experience to be a part of that process.
Stay tuned for more about Reel Grrls’ recent collaboration with the Washington Trust, SIFF film camps, and the re-launch and expansion of Seattle Snap Series this fall!