January 31, 2012

AGYA to Partner with Los Angeles-based, ImMEDIAte Justice for Girls Media Training Program in Uganda

AGYA is thrilled to announce our partnership with ImMEDIAte Justice (IMJ), an organization devoted to revolutionizing sex education through filmmaking. IMJ operates in California and empowers young women of color with the knowledge and skills "to generate new images of reproductive freedom that inspire community action and global dialogue." IMJ and AGYA will work collaboratively to implement Reel Talk: Confronting Global Gender Disparities Through Digital Media an AGYA project funded by UN-Habitat as part of their Youth Fund Initiative 

Reel Talk aims to train 48 teen girls to use film, digital media and photography as a platform to provide girls ages 15-20 with the training, artistic license and communication skills to transform attitudes and behaviors about critical gender issues among disadvantaged youth living in urban poverty in Kampala.  

On March 3, 2012, Reel Talk will launch a four week video production training with executive director of imMEDIAte Justice, Tani Ikeda and Lead Animation instructor at imMEDIAte Justice, Laura Yilmaz. Both instructors are professional LA based filmmakers who are passionate about empowering young women to speak their mind through film. The 48 young women in the program will learn screen writing, cinematography, sound design, and editing utilizing ipod technology. At the end of the four week intensive, the youth participants will continue to undergo 3 more months of additional training under the leadership of Project Coordinator, Happy Namutebi. After completing the training program, the youth participants will work together to create short films focused on critical gender issues. The participants will premiere their films at a community screening as well as share their stories online. 

Here are the bios for Laura Emel Yilmaz and Tani Ikeda, the IMJ staff who will travel to Uganda in March: 

Laura Emel Yilmaz is a filmmaker and animation director currently based in Los Angeles, California. Her short films have screened in numerous domestic and international film festivals including the Black Maria Film Festival, where her short film "Places Other People Have Lived" was awarded best animation of 2012, the Boston International Film Festival, where her short film "Lev" was awarded best short animation of 2009, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Her films collage and array of traditional and digital techniques, including photography, live action footage, digital 2D, stop motion, and direct on film.  

Laura is also a dedicated arts instructor, specializing in animation and filmmaking. She has taught at the prestigious California State Summer School for the Arts for four years, instructing high school students in an intensive animation production curriculum. She also teaches young women through Immediate Justice, a summer workshop and community outreach program devoted to revolutionizing sex education through filmmaking. Additionally, Laura has taught animation workshops at the college level at East Los Angeles Community College. 

Laura holds a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from the University of Southern California, where she was an Annenberg Fellow in Animation & Digital Arts. In 2009, she was a documentary filmmaker in residence at the Communications University of China, Beijing through USC.

Tani Ikeda is an award-winning director who creates narratives, documentaries, music videos, and commercial films. She was recently selected as one of Film Independent’s 33 Emerging Filmmakers as a Project: Involve Directors Fellow. As a documentary filmmaker in residence at the Communications University of China, Ikeda created, Other, the winner for best documentary at the Beijing Student Academy Awards and Turn Of The Harvest, official selection at the Asian American International Film Festival.

At the age of 21, Tani (pictured above) co-founded imMEDIAte Justice, a summer workshop and community outreach program for girls devoted to revolutionizing sex education through filmmaking. She is the current executive director of imMEDIAte Justice and was named one of the “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by the Utne Reader. ImMEDIAte Justice has received national attention on CNN, NBC, and Univision. Ikeda tours the country speaking at universities and national conferences and recently launched a film production program on the Quinault Reservation in Washington. Tani holds a Bachelors Degree in Film Production from the University of Southern California and currently resides in Los Angeles. 

If you want more updates about the progress of this project, check our Blog next month for another update on this exciting project! 

To learn more about IMJ, visit: http://immediatejusticeproductions.org/