The Children’s Defense Fund-Texas Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship is an opportunity for young people to use their experiences and knowledge to create a short film that brings to light an issue that is important to them or their community. Those who have experienced different types of inequality are highly encouraged to apply. Inequalities include but are not limited to: food insecurity or hunger; housing insecurity, eviction, or homelessness; lack of health care; racial or other discrimination; neighborhood violence; and/or family instability or separation. Though one fellow will be selected, there may be opportunities for groups to join masterclasses and other training sessions.
The fellow will be able to find and amplify their voice to a broad audience as part of this program. CDF-Texas will share the short film(s) across the country to spur civic action and advance policy changes to uplift youth, families, and communities facing economic challenges.
Here are some examples of youth-made short films for reference:
While the creation of a short film is the key outcome of this project, the Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship will also seek to engage and train the fellow and other masterclass participants around a variety of storytelling methods. In addition to video production, the program will build capacity in other effective storytelling techniques, including persuasive writing, digital advocacy, and spoken testimony so that the fellow can continue to be a strong advocate for themselves and their community.
The fellow will receive a $500 stipend as well as a video-production kit with necessary equipment. CDF-Texas will also provide the fellow with training in storytelling, filmmaking, and more.
The fellowship program will begin in July 2021 and run through November 2021 (completion date of December 1, 2021). Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of the program will take place virtually. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may pose challenges to this project and are committed to working with our fellow to make sure they can create their film with integrity to the intended purpose in a way that is safe for them, their families, and their communities.
In addition to a general application, you will be required to answer the following
short-answer (200 words or less each) prompts:
Section 1: Your Story
- 1. How has inequality affected you, your family, and your community?
- 2. What changes would you like to see in your community to help more people achieve economic stability and success?
Section 2: Your Short Film
As a Youth Voices Storytelling Fellow, you will receive support throughout the storytelling process – from developing your story, to determining how you want to tell it and actually telling it. However, the questions in the following section are a starting point. We would like to learn about the unique perspective you could bring to this project and your initial ideas about what parts of your story you would like to explore or share, who you will involve, and how you would like to share it.
- 3. What will be the focus of your story? What specific life experiences do you plan to explore in your short film?
- 4. How do you envision translating your story to film?
- Please feel free to be creative here! Think about short films or videos you might have seen on Youtube, for example. How many people were there in the video? Was the story told in first person? Were the people playing fictional characters? Did the video include interviews with other people? What kinds of images or scenes were featured? Here are some examples of youth-made short films for reference:
- 6. Why are you interested in and/or what excites you about the possibilities of visual storytelling and telling your story through film?
- 7. What change do you hope to inspire by telling your story? What impact do you hope your story makes?
Any interested Young Advocate can participate in masterclasses led by filmmaking/storytelling professionals. These masterclass sessions are offered free of charge in conjunction with the CDF National Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship Program, but registration is required.
Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship Masterclass Topics:
June 17: Creating Your Own Production Company
June 24: Impact Producing
July 1: Film Festival Programming/How to Submit Films to Festivals