Fresno Filmworks Partners with CFI’s Teen Film Club

Fresno Filmworks is an exhibition partner in California Film Institute Education’s National Teen Film Club. In February, CFI sought organizations looking to connect high school students with independent film in unique ways by establishing a first-of-its-kind national monthly film club. After the success of our past youth “Silence Your Cellphone” and “I Heart Film” shorts contests locally, we were naturally interested in partnering in this national pilot program.

Through its longstanding relationship with Sunnyside High School Video Production Academy, Filmworks enlisted five students to participate in the Film Club. These local students join 35 others from across the country who are passionate about cinema to access and engage with exclusive content and industry organizations and professionals so that the students are introduced to networking and vocation opportunities in the industry. We look forward to introducing you to the local students participating in the National Teen Film Club soon.

As an exhibition partner in the National Teen Film Club, Fresno Filmworks will curate two narrative features during the 10-month program, including one selection in coordination with the 2021 Fresno Filmworks Film Festival. We are excited about the 16th annual festival coming back in 2021. Look out for announcements on how the National Teen Film Club will be incorporated into the festival.

The nonprofit California Film Institute celebrates and promotes film as art and education through year-round programming at the nonprofit independent Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, presentation of the acclaimed Mill Valley Film Festival and DOCLANDS Documentary Film Festival, and cultivation of the next generation of filmmakers and through audiences through CFI Education programs.

Through innovative educational programs, workshops, and screenings, CFI Education touches the lives of over 6,500 children annually through a broad range of activities, ranging from Q&A sessions with top international filmmakers to hands-on seminars with industry professionals. CFI Education promotes tolerance and a sophisticated world view by expanding classroom topics across borders and disciplines.

In addition to Fresno Filmworks, the regional film organizations collaborating with CFI Education include:

• Belcourt Theatre – Nashville, TN
• Cinema Arts – Huntington, NY
• Facets – Chicago, IL
• Images Cinema – Williamstown, MA
• Kan-Kan Cinema – Indianapolis, IN
• Milwaukee Film – Milwaukee, WI
• North Carolina Museum of Art – Raleigh, NC

Once a month, participating students ages 14–18 from around the country get exclusive, free online access to an independent film curated by one of the participating film organizations. After viewing the film, they all come together online for a live, moderated weekend discussion focused on creative interpretation and critical analysis of the film.

Program Objectives

• Build a national cohort of students passionate about cinema and provide a consistent space for them to interact with each other.
• Give students the opportunity to access and engage with exclusive content.
• Cultivate critical film analysis and interpersonal communication skills crucial to students’ personal and professional development.
• Foster empathy and cultural awareness through the examination of characters and communities in film.
• Build community through the exchange of ideas among a diverse group of young film enthusiasts from around the country.
• Introduce students to different types of institutions and organizations dedicated to film exhibition and explore vocational opportunities in the industry.
• Demonstrate the importance of networking through consistent program participation as a means to professional development.

Rita Bell is president of the Fresno Filmworks board of directors.