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FilmNorth Youth Program Participant Explores Careers Through JuiceMedia

June 1, 2020

One of SPNN’s flagship programs is the Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP), whose 35 AmeriCorps members teach technology literacy skills for social, civic and economic empowerment around the Twin Cities. CTEP AmeriCorps Member Oli Peters instructs high school students at FilmNorth. FilmNorth’s mission is to empower artists to tell their stories, launch and sustain successful careers, and advance The North as a leader in the national network of independent filmmakers. Oli specifically leads JuiceMedia, FilmNorth’s free after-school youth filmmaking collective.

Oli shares about one of her memorable students below:

Nathan has been a member of JuiceMedia since September of last year. He began JuiceMedia in order to figure out if filmmaking is a career he wants to seriously consider, as well as to make friends. He began JuiceMedia right after switching schools, and found that JuiceMedia began to help ease that transition after getting to know the other youth in the program. 

He has since become a very reliable student that I can count on to make others feel welcome and included. He is also a member of the JuiceMedia Youth Committee, a group that meets every other Wednesday to discuss the curriculum, workshops, visiting artists, field trips, etc. that occur during the session. Nathan’s input is extremely valuable, and he doesn’t shy away from asking sensitive yet fruitful questions about inclusion and community building efforts. Nathan said that, in JM, he has “learned how to better express my ideas, speak out, and talk to people.” 

 Nathan was the first youth in JuiceMedia history to develop and present/facilitate a student-led workshop. The workshop focused on idea generating for video projects and included slides about how to ask for help on your project. Nathan emphasized the importance of working with one another in JuiceMedia, and seeing your peers as the useful, willing resources that they are when it comes to filmmaking and creative support. 

This line of thinking is what prompted Nathan to hold auditions within JuiceMedia for his video last session. With the help of an intern, another student and myself, Nathan led his own casting call during a JuiceMedia session. Nearly everyone tried out because Nathan was so encouraging and warm during the audition process. I’ve seen Nathan grow into himself both creatively and personally since he began the youth program last year. I feel privileged to witness and help facilitate such growth. Nathan still isn’t sure if filmmaking is something he wants to pursue in the future, but he’s learned important technical editing (Adobe Premiere Pro) and camera skills (various Canon HD video cameras) and writing skills along the way, which can translate into any sort of career.