My Lens, My Story: The Power of Student Stories In Film

Two students using a camera to make a movie.

Youth Ottawa’s Youth Active Media (YAM) begins with a premise: the outcome of empowering youth to tell their stories has the collateral effect of developing, in the words of Executive Director, Ian Bingeman, “idea generators through transdisciplinary connection.”  Providing students with tools for storytelling and content oversight has an added benefit: intrinsic motivation.  

Students at Richard Pfaff Alternate Program worked through a scaffolded workshop that generated intensity and sharpened focus over the course of the school year while moving from mobile device filmmaking, to independent filmmaking, to large scale team productions involving clients working with youth, and youth issues, in Ottawa.   

From a playful tribute to anime with filters and colourscapes, to a Hitchockesque thriller ending in self-discovery, to a meta documentary of the entire YAM process, students embraced the lens and developed content well-beyond what they themselves thought possible. 

YAM acts as a launchpad for youth voice, addressing youth issues, as a form of social innovation and responsibility.  At the conclusion of the RP Filmfest, Ian Bingeman presented a challenge and an invitation to students: employ your newly honed skills to connect with organizations addressing youth issues in the city and embark on a collaboration of content making.  Students worked with YAM Coordinator, Jesse Card, as well as mentors from the Artistic Mentorship Program (AMP) and The Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee (OYEC) to collaborate in a design/plan/produce process with Ecology Ottawa, YouthNet, and Safepet.  

Next, students joined Hot Shoe Productions “a social enterprise that hires youth to create powerful video products for clients.”  A product of their learning, and a further continuation of that learning, unleashing the power of youth story with the power of film coming another step closer to Youth Ottawa’s aspiration of “a world where youth are increasingly and meaningfully engaged in building a better world, both today and in the future.” 

What stories will OCDSB students tell this year? Just ask them. 

#ExperientialLearning

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