For over a decade, I have facilitated and developed a number of community media projects as a form of social engagement, enabling young people to tell their own stories, and those of their communities, while challenging the dominant narratives about youth pushed by the mass media. I have worked with various non-profit organizations, among them Educational Video Center, Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, MNN Youth Channel, the NYC Department of Education, and People Using Media to do Prevention.
Over the past six years, as part of Tribeca Film Institute’s education initiatives in incarcerated spaces, I have developed the teaching strategy and been the lead teaching artist for the Rikers Island Media Lab. The program has reached women between the ages of 16 – 28 years old who are city sentenced or awaiting trial. While the work produced by program participants has ranged from free writes, to poems, to TedTalks, to short films, the goal of the program is to connect communities and provide a space for dialogue and collaboration between students in the Rikers classroom and students on the outside. For the past five years, we have worked with students and educators from the Young Women’s Leadership School (TYWLS), Astoria. The exchange serves not only to break down physical barriers, but to flip the common narrative by challenging the stereotypes that exist about women who are court-involved.
The work below exemplifies the collaborative filmmaking model – films are written and edited by students on Rikers Island and produced and shot by students from TYWLS. The culmination of the months long exchange is a joint screening on Rikers Island in the spring, during which the women meet face-to-face for the first time.
Project: More Than a Woman (2016)
Press Coverage: NBC News (2017)
Press Coverage: The New York Times (2013)
Press Coverage: The Village Voice (2013)