Film & Media Production Education Arrives at EMCSD
El Monte City School District (EMCSD) has captured the imagination and creativity of students through the wonder of film. Youth Cinema Project (YCP) is a new program serving to engage students in the art of filmmaking and storytelling while empowering them to explore their creative potential and gaining valuable skills in media production. The program is currently in its pilot stage at Cherrylee, Potrero, and Wright. It invites industry professionals to schools to provide hands on film-making opportunities. Thanks to the dedication of both educators and students the program is fostering culture, innovation, and equity.
Wright teacher Mrs.Yvette Hall emphasized, “It's important that our students have opportunities to learn the ins and outs of cinema and media, as well as the different career options they may have not been familiar with. Our students live in a world that communicates through various forms of media, and learning the ins and outs will help them better communicate and interact with the digital world.”
In classrooms, YCP ensures students learn technical skills that are applicable in today’s digital media era, simultaneously teaching them to communicate effectively and build strong teamworking skills. Over the past few weeks, students have learned how to operate cameras, work with lighting and sound equipment, write scripts, and edit videos. In a short period of time, Mrs. Hall and fellow Wright teacher Mr. Isaac Cuevas have seen the impact on their students. Mrs. Hall shared, “I’ve seen students' confidence grow tremendously. Their ability to communicate their ideas [is] evident as they brainstorm and pitch concepts for a PSA about a topic that is important to them.” Mr. Cuevas added “The students are resonating towards YCP because for many of them it's the first time [getting] an opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions on serious topics while harnessing the power of film."
This year’s students will create short films or Public Service Announcements with the hopes of showcasing them at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. This program cultivates success for students and focuses on mental and academic growth. One student, Florez Flores shared, "I've always been into filmmaking, so to now participate in the process of creating a film is interesting.” Florez’s journey within YCP has been exciting and challenging, "Right now, I'm a little stuck because I don't really know exactly what I would like to focus on, but, going to the meetings is fun and cool.” Florez’s YCP classmate, Stephanie Simental, added “It’s fun to make movies and play different parts. That’s what I like about the program, you don’t just get to do one thing, you get to experience everything and find what you like the most.”
Dr. Jacob Muniz, EMCSD Coordinator of Enrichment and Engagement thinks YCP has spot for everyone, "I would strongly advise future students and their families, including their caregivers, to consider joining YCP. It's incredibly inclusive, catering to both introverted and extroverted students. If you have a child who enjoys time to themselves and is somewhat introverted, this is a perfect opportunity for them to grow and mature."
This program blends self-discovery and development. It is not just about learning the technical aspects of media, but about personal growth and empowerment. With the dedication of both educators and students, EMCSD’s initiative fosters equity and promises a brighter future for students as a whole.