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Lights, Camera, Empowerment at She Ready Summer Internship Film Project

Last month, a spark of inspiration ignited as She Ready Foundation joined forces with UCLA First Star Program to create movie magic. This dynamic collaboration brought the world of filmmaking to young minds in a transformative 4 week project culminating in the creation of 2 short films.

Using the expertise of creator, writer and director, Stacey McClain, the youth were guided through weekly classes in storytelling, writing, camerawork, lighting, scene composition, editing and even sound recording. With powerful volunteer guest speakers, the program was a testament to the power of mentorship. Reaffirming the importance of individual voices in the industry and in everyday encounters, attendees were immersed in hands-on sessions that allowed their voices to be heard.

The 4-week project taught technicalities of filmmaking while fostering creativity and encouraging diverse perspectives. The She Ready Foundation’s approach was to create an atmosphere that was open, inclusive an inviting, where questions flowed freely, and aspirations were nurtured.

The project continued with a full day’s film shoot on a live set with partner, Kids In the Spotlight and concluded with the youth learning how to edit their film and add a soundtrack. The films that were created, Obey and It’s Everywhere taught valuable lessons that the youth wanted to share. Obey, shared the lesson of listening to parents or the consequences may be scary. While, It’s Everywhere, focused on the monsters in our minds that might lead to mental health challenges. At the end of the film, youth emphasized a call to action in getting help when struggling with mental stressors.

Attendees said they left with a sense of empowerment and accomplishment, having completed such a huge project and seeing it on screen. UCLA’s First Star Organization and She Ready Foundation have vested missions to uplift youth impacted by foster care. With this alignment, they are now looking at how the partnership can expand and we know our youth are ready for it.

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