Young, Female and Telling Stories That Matter

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

This summer, 16 young women who are Chicago Housing Authority residents are immersing themselves in the world of film and learning to produce their own documentaries. The program is part of an expanded partnership between DePaul and CHA that, in this Year of the Youth, is ensuring CHA’s young people have access to boundless opportunities. “When I first heard about this summer film program, I didn’t think I’d be the one behind the camera filming,” said 16-year-old Aisha Horns, one of the young women selected to participate this summer. “But I’m actually learning how to use the camera, set up the equipment and, most challenging for me, speak with people in the community I’ve never met before.”

Horns, a resident of the Dearborn Homes community, is one of the 16 high school students from across the city selected to participate in this inaugural six-week Documentary Filmmaking Program at DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts. The young filmmakers range from freshman to seniors in high school, and they are learning how to execute every step of the film production process from the fundamentals of film theory, to the final editing and production of their stories. “We are thrilled to participate in this partnership with DePaul University, and to continue the agency’s ‘Year of the Youth’ campaign in such a unique, and exciting way,” said CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. Liliane Calfee, the program director, teacher at DePaul and accomplished documentary filmmaker in her own right, said: “The program is student motivated, and each participant identifies a social issue they want to pursue.”

First the girls learn foundational skills alongside DePaul student mentors and are then partnered with professional filmmakers who help them shape their stories. This year’s topics include teen pregnancy, neighborhood violence, single vs dual parent homes and bullying. As part of CHA’s Year of the Youth campaign, this collaboration is part a year-long youth engagement effort that includes unique professional and youth-related programs focused on mentoring young people and putting them on a strong career path to college and jobs.

Attached Photo Caption:
Young CHA filmmakers Deja Flanagan, Tiondra Vinson and Aisha Horns (l-r) joined by Cinematographer and DePaul Alumni Aaron Johnson (background), to learn process of documentary filmmaking

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