Thursday, October 22, 2009

YDI Mi Voz Auditions for Fall 2009 Session

After-school program for New Mexico Middle School kids teaches documentary filmmaking!

On Wednesday, October 21st and Thursday, October 22nd Youth Development Inc.’s (YDI) Mi Voz program, which teaches above-the-line filmmaking skills to middle school age kids, will hold auditions for its Fall 2009 session. The auditions will be held in the YDI Mi Voz office at 518 1st Street, Albuquerque, New Mexico from 4 -5:30pm each day.

YDI Mi Voz has established a rock-solid after school program since its beginnings in 2006. So far it has produced 25 films that have all been exclusively helmed by its carefully-selected students, who range in age from 11-16. Kids who are interested in the program must first do well at their audition, where former graduates of YDI Mi Voz turn the studio lights on them, flip a tape in a camera, and grill them in an on-camera interview. “The audition is the hardest part,” says Sarena Whitten, 12, who premiered her documentary on New Mexican art this past summer. “The actual filmmaking is probably one of the most fun things, I’ve ever done.”

When their films are “in the can,” (industry speak for “done”) they are premiered in the newly-renovated Wool Warehouse theater in downtown Albuquerque. The affair is one to remember: arriving dressed up and emerging from a limo, they get swarmed by “paparazzi” – in this case, proud friends and family members with cameras. The smell of freshly made popcorn wafting through the lobby, the theater lights go low, and then it’s official – they are a filmmaker from now on.

Many if not all participants continue their work in one shape or another. Paul Brennan, 13, who first came to YDI Mi Voz when he was in 6th grade, has written 3 feature length screenplays, started shooting 1, acts in plays, and most recently is starring in an anti-smoking ad currently airing on your TV. He is easily recognized as “that kid stomping out the burning tumbleweed.” 2 of his short experimental films showed at 3 film showcases this year: Experiments in Cinema v 4.2, the New Mexico Filmmaker’s Showcase, and a screening at 2009’s New Mexico State Fair.

Like his peers, Paul was asked back to act as a youth mentor for the subsequent YDI Mi Voz seasons, and hasn’t left since. “[Mi Voz is] My favorite after school program, no questions asked. I’ve been in all kinds of extracurricular stuff- acting classes, dance, theater- but [Mi Voz] is the one I always go back to,” Paul says.

“Spirits of Enchantment” is a series of short documentaries that will be produced, directed, shot, edited and delivered by a group of middle school age students in Albuquerque. Each short documentary will spotlight a different tale of the supernatural. Students will document these stories by people who have experienced them and relate it to how it makes New Mexico unique. These will not just be “ghost stories,” but retellings of some of our great mythological and legendary heritage as a state. With history and architecture that goes back to colonial Spanish days as well as a close association to extraterrestrial activity, New Mexico presents a diverse set of opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to tell these extraordinary tales.

The purposes of the program are:

1. It contributes to building a “native workforce” for New Mexico’s blossoming film industry, giving young people a head start in using industry standard tools and techniques.
2. The finished products will showcase a marketable and exciting aspect of New Mexico, which will also engage youth participants and audiences alike.
3. By providing Mi Voz classes under the YDI banner, students and their families have access to the wide range of social services YDI provides.

We are actively seeking out participants for this session. During the 16-week after school course, students will be taught producing, directing, shooting, and editing using top of the line digital video equipment. The course is free to participants, but interested students must audition first to gauge their interest and dedication. 14 students will be selected. Classes are taught by Marcos Baca and Brian Beeler, working professionals in the area of digital art and filmmaking. 4 youth instructors who have participated previously will be at every class to mentor new students, as well as guest lectures by UNM Cinematic Arts Professors and other independent producers.

For more information contact YDI Media Relations Manager Marcos Baca at (505)212-7442 or