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With many summer camps and other activities suspended because of COVID-19, Ghetto Film School is launching a new program to encourage teens and young adults to whip out their cameras and express themselves through short film.

GFS Film Credits, sponsored by AT&T and WarnerMedia is a “short film challenge” aimed at creators between 14 and 21. GFS will have a six-member team providing guidance for young filmmakers on their projects, centered around the theme of “How Does It Feel to Be Connected, Right Now?”

The Ghetto Film School Film Credits program (filmcredits.org) invites participants to submit videos up to 3 minutes in length, in any format or genre (including personal narratives, TikTok, animation and PSAs). Ten finalists will be selected by an industry jury and GFS will award winners with exclusive filmmaker engagements, a virtual premiere showcase, meetings with industry experts, production awards, and promotion on social platforms (including across AT&T and WarnerMedia brands).

“We realize that many young people have had summer plans shifted or completely canceled,” said Sharese Bullock-Bailey, chief strategy and partnership officer for Ghetto Film School. “Young people are digital natives, and they intuitively know how to tell stories. We’re helping them tell those stories better, matching the interest and skill with exposure to the industry and film professionals… to connect to new careers and opportunities.”

The goal for GFS, AT&T and WarnerMedia is to reach at least 10,000 young people through the short film challenge, said Bullock-Bailey, and “we expect to reach well over that number.”

More info on GFS Film Credits is available at filmcredits.org. Deadline for submissions is Aug. 28, after which GFS will host a virtual showcase premiering the winning short films at the end of September 2020.

As part of Ghetto Film School Film Credits, young media makers will have free access to Digital Access For All, a resource featuring GFS Media Maker Masterclasses and curated creative resources. The Masterclass series will cover storytelling, storyboarding, scriptwriting, editing, and sound design.

Throughout July and August, GFS will highlight the Masterclasses and content coming out of the community for GFS Film Credits.

“We’re looking to engage young people wherever they are. We are leaving the lens open in terms of the format, because we want to see how young people are answering the call,” said Bullock-Bailey, who is the architect of GFS’ consulting practice. She’s been the driver for the GFS Film Credits initiative and has managed the Ghetto Film School partnership with AT&T for the last several years.

GFS, founded in 2000 in the Bronx, is dedicated to educating, developing and celebrating the next generation of American storytellers. With locations in New York City, Los Angeles and London, the organization says it works with over 6,000 people between 14 and 34 years of age every year.

AT&T and WarnerMedia is sponsoring GFS Film Credits because the companies have a responsibility to support a diverse new generation of storytellers, according to Charlene Lake, AT&T’s senior VP, corporate social responsibility and chief sustainability officer. “The content we create and distribute has to look like the citizens of the world,” she said.

In addition, Lake cited the Black Lives Matter movement that has taken on new energy and urgency following the police killing of George Floyd. “The events of recent months underscore the injustice Black people are facing, and we recognize the role that media plays in giving voices a platform,” she said.

Watch the launch video for GFS Film Credits: