On the occasion of its 50th Anniversary in 2017, AFI is broadening the spectrum of those served by its educational programs. As part of the Youth & Family Program at AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi, AFI successfully launched an expanded K-12 education initiative to foster filmmaking talent among the youth of Los Angeles: the AFI FEST Storytelling Bootcamp.
This screen education program brought a screenwriting curriculum — which met Common Core Standards — to two public high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD): Santee Education Complex and the 32nd Street USC Media Arts & Engineering Magnet.
The Storytelling Bootcamp was led by two AFI Conservatory alumni, Erika Grediaga (Class of 2004, Directing) and David Ross (Class of 2001, Screenwriting), who received training to serve as the program’s teaching artists. In three classroom sessions over the course of a week in October, students learned the fundamentals of story and character development, were guided to begin a script outline and drafted a first scene — and in the process, gained valuable skills in writing and self-expression.
The training culminated with a screening experience at AFI FEST and opportunities to meet working filmmakers. On Monday, November 13, the two classes were provided with free bus transportation to the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood for a private weekday screening of the animated film THE BREADWINNER, preceded by the short COIN OPERATED. After the film, the director of the animated feature Nora Twomey engaged in a Q&A with the students. In the days following the screening, the director of the short film, Nicholas Arioli, visited classrooms for a more in-depth and personal dialogue with students about his project and career path. A total of 55 students benefited from this program.
The AFI FEST Storytelling Bootcamp was made possible in part by grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and GRoW @ Annenberg, an initiative of Gregory Annenberg Weingarten of The Annenberg Foundation dedicated to innovative projects in education, arts, culture and more.
Pictured at top: Storytelling Bootcamp students at AFI FEST with director Nora Twomey (THE BREADWINNER)