Janet Simmons

BCP Media Camp – Black Camera Productions Youth Media Camp

Date grant awarded: March 2019

Black Camera Productions – BCP – looks to address mental health and lack of community involvement by providing creative solutions to common conflicts in film. Additionally, BCP provides mentoring to youth on giving back to their communities by responsibly telling their stories via film and video to uplift and inform.

In the BCP Youth Media Camp we discuss how film has been influential to our history as well as our future. Teaching us what has worked and showing the possibilities of what could be. In the first segment of our camp, the youth are encouraged to reflect on their on life experiences and lessons, followed by being challenged on to decide how to express those experiences through films and videos.

The youth camp focuses on basic writing skills and script writing. These sessions cover all aspects of pre-production and provides an understanding of basic skills, including camera, audio, crew, lighting, set design, and more. Our camp provides a space where each youth gets the chance to sit in each position of film – from camera to audio – for one another’s projects. This is concluded by the youth editing and distributing their projects and screening their films to celebrate the achievements made.

Addressing mental health and community involvement is not only what I, Janet Simmons, needed in the past as a youth and the present as an adult, but it also helps all those in their current and future state. In order for me or anyone to have healthy relationships in our community, it is important for me to know how to properly cater to my mental health as well as do my part to create the space for others to learn how to cater to theirs. What I would like people to know is if one of us is affected, all of us are affected, and that we cannot do it individually.

BCP acknowledges how important it is to work together. As a visual learner, television and movies were a great influence on me as a child, and If I wasn’t careful they could have led me down a bad path. Instead, film was like a new language, a different way that I could express myself, other painting, drawing or poems, which I did not excel in. In fact, for most things, film making and storytelling were the only way I knew how to express myself.

The initial seed grant was essential to the promotion of the BCP and the youth media camp. Without a big network and major advertising companies, it is a huge challenge to sell a product with a prototype, and the initial seed grant from The Pollination Project allowed us to get the ball rolling efficiently. Receiving the impact award will not only allow me to to expand the camp but also do it more efficiently with knowledge and insight I gained from the first award and camp. With better equipment, and more time with the youth, BCP has the chance to make a bigger impact in our community.

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