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Need for Media Arts

According to Americans for the Arts, students with consistent access to the arts have higher GPAs, higher standardized test scores, and lower dropout rates. Media Arts Education fosters self-directed learning and ultimately, developing the full range of 21st Century skills. All media arts students are better-prepared for college and career with skills in communication, creative problem-solving, collaboration, and lifelong learning.

Through Media Arts, students are empowered to become practicing cultural participants in their community. While engaged in the multi-modalities offered through the media arts, students acquire critical new literacies in media, technology, and digital culture. However, youth in our community do not have broad access to these learning opportunities. In fact, of the ~1,900 middle and high school students in Northern Sonoma County, less than 250 will have access to a class in digital media or the media arts.

AVFilm works to bridge this gap in Media Arts programming with standards-based curriculum. Through creative collaborations, innovative program design, and broad community support, AVFilm will bring media arts training and literacy to more than 1,000 Sonoma County students.

  1. Full Circle Cinema (AVFilm’s solution to integrating media arts training and literacy into schools where such opportunities do not currently exist):
    1. Integrated Filmmaking Intensive for English Class: From brainstorming to the final edit, this standards-based class helps students create their own videos for class projects and fun. 
    2. Media Literacy & Film Integration: Allows teachers to bring teaching artists into their classroom to screen and discuss a film related to their subject area.
    3. Video Production Skills Training: Students learn skills such as editing tutorials, screenwriting basics, and story idea generation.
  1. AV Cart!AV Cart offers a free film for students to watch inside or outside of class plus a subject-area expert to visit during class to discuss the film and thematic issues. AV Cart provides both an educational opportunity and a break/fun activity in any learning environment.
  2. Self-Directed Resources for Educators: A collection of tools that offer myriad ways to incorporate media literacy and video skills-building opportunities into classes. We gathered hundreds of potential solutions from respected educational partners and consolidated them into a digestible online directory for educators.
  1. Future Filmmakers ProgramAn eight-week, after-school standards-based filmmaking program. Students learn the basics of filmmaking and create their short films.
  2. Summer Film CampStudents learn standards-based video-making skills and create their own work.
  3. Cinema Arts & LectureMonthly lecture series with industry experts. 60-minute lecture; 30-minute Q&A. Designed for high school aged students and adults.
  4. Student Film CompetitionProvides youth with an opportunity to share their voice through film and real-world experience of sharing artistic work in a public format. Student filmmakers receive feedback from a panel of professional video storytellers and compete for $3,000 in prize money.

AVFilm Educational Programs are supported in part by these funders

Ann & Dale Amtower
Delores & Gary Arabian
Austin Basis
Deborah Bertolucci & Rick Klug
Russell Bertuccelli & Joanne Menapace
Candi & Bob Bialon
Grace Bockelman
Pauline Bohm & Michel Rodrigue
Marc Bommersbach
Kristina Borchardt & Gabrielle Simmons
Lucia & Ernest Boutte-Osborn
Jenness Brewer & Terry Heckler
Carrie Brown
Susan Campbell & John McKinney
Douglas Chamberlin & Alison Finch
Margaret Clarson
Jan Connors
Patricia Dahl
Carol & Manny Diaz
Julie Dilley & Tom Foster
Joseph & Sandra Dobbins
Anita Dooley-Barker & Steven Barker
Johnny Drake
Dobie Edmonds
Ann Elston & Larry Lossing
Barbara Epstein
Renay & Michael Fanelli
Walter Gendell & Jack Fitzsimmons
Jenny & Rick Gomez
Mark & Beth Hanson
Stu & David Harrison
John Hazlett
Bonnie Headley
Dan Henkle & Steve Kawa
Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund
Melanie Johnson
Kiwanis Club of Healdsburg
Brandon Krueger
Kathy Laglia
Larry Langbehn
Barbara Lannin
Cristel & Ron Longo
Steve Magnum
Marjorie Mann
Carl Milfeit
The Miner Anderson Family Foundation
John & Em Minor
Sharon & Jim Olson
Bill Pesonen & Roy Flores
Helen Philip
Irene Pozoukidis
Renee Roe
Jane Rosenberg & Steve Deas
Deborah & Tony Rust
Bob Schneeweiss
Good Shepherd
Jan & Brent Stanley
Kirsten & Steve Tellez
Mark Thayer & Jean Herschede
Barbara Tomber & Don Matthews
Victor & Cindy Trentadue
Kathleen & Peter Turbott
Amy Velasquez
Dianne & Mark Vernon
Madeline & Dick Wallace
Norm Webb
Mary Jo Winter/Management Connections
Deborah Yarrow

teaching philosophy

AVFilm recognizes that teaching is essential work and a form of labor separate from one’s knowledge of filmmaking. Therefore, we developed standards-based lessons for the sake of the teachers employed by AVFilm and the institutions and organizations at which we teach our curriculum. This grounds our curriculum in the skills and knowledge deemed essential for each grade level we teach. In addition, we teach the curriculum using an intersectional feminist approach as we build our curriculum and interact with students. This means that in all parts of our curriculum, we recognize that everyone has multiple identities that intersect to make us who we are, resulting in overlapping types of privilege and oppression. It is vital that students are able to explore these dimensions of power through class discussion and analyses of films shown as part of the AVFilm curriculum. We encourage students and teachers to embrace any discomfort that results from such an approach as a sign of learning and growth. Further, we aim to uplift students culturally so that as many students as possible see complex representations of themselves in our curriculum, particularly in the images used in slides and in the films shown as examples to inspire students’ own filmmaking.

Although we are most directly teaching filmmaking, we see an urgent need for students to develop media literacy. We strive to give students the confidence and skills to evaluate and consume media using their knowledge of filmmaking to recognize how a given director uses filmmaking tools to influence viewer understanding of character, image, and story. Simultaneously, student confidence in the importance of their own stories will allow them to compare and contrast their experiences with that presented by a film director. When the two do not align, and a student recognizes that a film tells a story that is not their own, our goal is for that student to honor their own experience, even as they see that the film tells someone else’s story. This foundation results, we hope, in a curriculum that gives students agency in their educational experience, determination to tell their own stories, empathy to recognize and honor another’s story, and a variety of technical skills to produce creative films that take into consideration everyday negotiations of power.