Reel Works Teen Filmmaking

Brooklyn, NY

Reel Works Teen Filmmaking is centered of the conviction that every young person has a story to tell and an important contribution to make our world. We believe that filmmaking holds within it essential disciplines of literacy, communication, creative and critical thinking, storytelling and teamwork that young people need to effectively express their unique visions. In the process they gain self-esteem, master state-of-the-art technology and are transformed from passive consumers to active creators of media. We say to teens: You have a voice. Use it!

Founded in 2001 at the Prospect Park YMCA, Reel Works is a full-time nonprofit arts organization that serves over 150 teens each year through five core programs: The Lab, The Master Class, Reel Impact, Reel Works Productions and the Summer Lab.

Supported Projects

Youth Media Lab Assistant

Micheil Yohannes

Our core media arts education program, The Lab, is a free after-school workshop that challenges Brooklyn high school students to produce short documentary videos about their lives. This program incorporates lessons in literacy (story-telling, scripting, editing), self-esteem and tolerance, technology and media literacy within the context of 1:1 mentoring with professional filmmakers.

The Lab Assistant will work with the Lab Coordinator, Directors, and other staff to enhance the capacity of The Lab, Reel Impact, and all other programs of Reel Works Teen Filmmaking. Duties include, but are not limited to

- media arts instruction;

- maintenance of technical equipment and media collection;

- assisting with the recruitment and training of volunteer filmmaker mentors;

- developing and maintaining relationships with schools, community centers, and neighborhoods in Brooklyn served by Reel Works;

- developing a youth advisory board;

- assisting with the distribution/outreach and public relations;

- and performing various administrative duties as needed.

In a lab used mainly by young people on a daily basis we run into many technical/equipment malfunctions that oftentimes have no explanation. Reel Works Teen Filmmaking operates on a “shoe-string” budget and would not have been as successful in the past year had it not been for Micheil’s superior troubleshooting skills. Oftentimes, the members of our skeleton staff would attempt to trouble shoot errors while simultaneously running other programs and teaching a class - making for a very hectic and crazy work day. The days we were fortunate enough to work with Micheil were always the most productive. The young people in our program owe a lot of their stress-free success to Micheil.

Outreach and Youth Video Workshop Building

Will Quinones

Goal 1: To enhance the capacity of Reel Works Teen Filmmaking by broadening outreach and impact on New York City teens.

Will assisted with the completion of the Spring 2006 class by helping to organize the graduation screening. Shortly before that screening, Will recruited students and professional filmmaker mentors for the Fall 2006 class, which began in early October 2006. The Fall 2006 class has now graduated (as of March 28, 2007) and again Will assisted with the organization of the graduation screening, our longest and best attended yet. This past winter, Will again recruited students and mentors, from regular partner schools and new partners, for the Spring 2007 class.

The Reel Impact program has been completely overhauled with Will’s input and support into a series of workshops and working meetings on distribution and outreach for graduates of the Lab. He has been in charge of distributing our films over the web at four different partner websites - including Reel Works, ListenUp!, Uth TV, and AOL. Will has been releasing a new film (from our library of over 100 films) every two weeks and last year we had over a million viewers of our work! Our first Master Class, a yearlong advanced film production class, was recruited for and began in the late fall. Will is currently arranging specialty workshops such as screenwriting and lighting for film for the Master Class students.

Our first ever benefit was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 2006, and Will contributed to the creation of the “Labumentary”, a film about Reel Works’ mission, for the benefit screening. He also coordinated our student workers for the evening, who were charged with selling tickets for and running the raffle at the benefit reception.

This spring, we are in the process of strengthening our recruitment efforts with our partners at local schools and non-profit organizations. Will is part of the team who is meeting with these partners, educating them fully about our mission and requirements and developing deeper bonds in order to reach more students who might be interested in our programs.

All of these activities that Will has been in charge of and assisting with are directly affecting the ability of Reel Works to reach more and more of New York City’s teens who are interested in developing critical thinking, media literacy, self-esteem and relationships with professionals in the field of filmmaking.

Transmission Project