The Junior Filmmakers Initiative or “JFI” was launched on January 14, 2013 and in recent weeks, youngsters in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area have been delighting in the production of their very own film, entitled “Chihuahua Rampage”. The program is now slated to come to other Triad area schools.
“Our objective was to give local children a real taste of the creative process that goes into making a film production. We crafted the program in a way that promotes creativity, teamwork, reading skills and writing in a way that effectively conveys their ideas,” explained Howard Venable, the director of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers/Communities in Schools program of Forsyth County.
The idea for the program came quite naturally to Venable, who established Silver Lining Youth Services in 2002. The 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization provides a host of services to youngsters and their family members, including mental health services, tutoring and mentoring. Silver Lining Youth Services provides offerings that are designed to help young people to achieve their dreams. Venable’s firm takes a holistic approach, tending to their clients’ bodies and minds in a manner that promotes success and happiness.
So it wasn’t a tremendous leap when he came up with the idea to provide additional opportunities to youngsters via what would become the Junior Filmmakers Initiative; a program that may very well inspire a love of filmmaking in a child who is going to become Hollywood’s next John Singleton or Quentin Tarantino.
It was the summer of 2012 when Venable approached filmmaker Thomas Scott, Jr. with his idea for creating a program that would teach the art of filmmaking to children.
The month-long JFI pilot program launched at the Kimberley Park Elementary School in Winston-Salem, NC. The youngsters conceptualized, developed and wrote the screenplay for their film, Chihuahua Rampage. They set up a casting call and held auditions, rehearsed their parts and participated in the filming and the post-production process. The result was a delightfully entertaining short film that showcases the youngsters’ talent, creativity and enthusiasm.
“I really look forward to expanding this program, as it’s a fun and engaging way to cultivate an interest in and appreciation of this form of art,” explained co-founder Thomas Scott Jr. Scott established La Scène Media Group, a film production company which collaborates with a team of gifted writers, talented actors and experienced technicians to provide quality entertainment on the big and small screen.
The JFI was also co-founded by Ken Watts, who is the mastermind behind MechKW Design, a firm specializing in providing memorable, highly-recognizable branding services to clients in the beauty, fashion and entertainment industries, among others. Watts’ firm works with an array of small businesses that are seeking to create a unique brand identity that drives success.
On the heels of a tremendously successful pilot program, the three JFI founders are now seeking to expand the program. But in order to continue, they will require donations from contributors who wish to support the program.
Anyone who is interested in supporting The Junior Filmmakers Initiative is encouraged to make a donation, which will enable the JFI to continue its mission throughout the Triad area and beyond. JFI is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and as such, all contributions are tax-deductible. So making a donation won’t just provide new enrichment opportunities to local children; you will also enjoy a tax benefit.
To learn more about the Junior Filmmakers Initiative, visit www.JuniorFilm.org