Elevated Films Chicago Expands Youth Filmmaking Program

It’s always encouraging if not inspiring to see today’s filmmakers making profound efforts to blaze a path for the filmmakers of tomorrow. Elevated Films Chicago is ramping up its mission to raise awareness for independent film and create opportunities for the next generation of filmmakers as it will be partnering with the Become a Filmmaker program. The program, in its seventh year and run by Program Director Liliane Calfee with the support of Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts, currently runs as an intensive six-week summer documentary filmmaking course and year-round outreach. 

Elevated Films Chicago’s partnership will focus ongoing support for the program in the following areas: 

The Become a Filmmaker program is in its seventh year

Filmmaker mentorship: providing access to professional filmmakers who will consult on all aspects of the filmmaking process. 

Screening opportunities: giving young filmmakers opportunities to show their films and represent their work in person.

Ongoing outreach: adding resources to make sure youth have continuous access and financial support to stay active in the film industry, facilitating access to guest speaker events, workshops, film festivals, networking gatherings, and other industry events.

“Dream scenario… the perfect matchup”

Plans for growing the program include expanding the summer youth filmmaking intensive to include narrative film projects, increasing the scope of ongoing outreach programming, and creating more hands-on opportunities for youth and program alumni in pre-production, production, and post-production positions within professional productions.

“This really is a dream scenario for our program. We’ve been looking for a long-term partner for years to help us expand film opportunities to CHA youth. As we all know, access is key,” says Calfee. Elevated Films Chicago co-founders Susie and Eddie Linker call the collaboration “the perfect match-up. This is truly exactly what we set out to do from the start. We’re so thrilled to have joined forces with Liliane and this program, and we can’t wait for what’s to come as we grow together.”

How It All Started

Since 2016, the Become a Filmmaker youth program, an intensive six-week summer documentary filmmaking course, has provided underserved youth with new economic pathways and the tools to share their voices with the world.

Let’s take a speedy cinematic tour of the program and its mission…

The program, a partnership made possible by the Chicago Housing Authoritys nonprofit partner Springboard to Success and DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts, part of the College of Computing and Digital Media, has helped participants gain technical filmmaking skills and learn the power of their personal narratives. In the past six years since the program’s inception, the short documentaries have screened and won awards at film festivals across the globe.

Check back here at SCREEN for updates as this inspiring mentorship program forges ahead in the new year.

Until then, click here for more from Elevated Films Chicago and Become a Filmmaker.

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