Community Voice Fellows Program: Facilitators Training Master Class
This year the CVP will continue its work with community partners to engage in a new program to train highly skilled storytellers to become Digital Storytelling Facilitators. During Master Class sessions in Digital Storytelling, conducted by Professor Shapiro-Perl, selected students will train to become facilitators in the art and method of digital storytelling in the community. Over the course of 10 months, selected students will work with members of communities facing change. In participating in this project, students and community members whose paths might rarely cross, will collaborate and learn from each other. Digital storytelling is the bridge.
Students will be trained to help community members “find” the stories they wish to tell, taking us into the lived experience of community residents, in their own words. Their stories help break down a sense of “Otherness” from both sides, changing the storyteller and the witness in the process. In its place are people, in all their complexity, with nuanced narratives of segregation and poverty for example, interwoven with beauty, spirituality, connection and hope. This is the transformative potential of the digital story — both in its capacity to effect personal and social change from the side of both storyteller and witness. It allows us to listen deeply to each other, across the divides of neighborhood, class, race and culture, allowing us to connect as people.
The Community Voice Project Fellowship contains two main components:
- Training with Nina Shapiro-Perl to become a CMSI Trained Facilitator in Digital Storytelling.
- Story Collection. Students will then use their newly acquired Digital Storytelling skills to work community partners to tell their own stories of change.
Digital stories created will be included in public screenings at American University and other venues in Washington, D.C.
A woman with imagination and creativity, A’Montay Giddings-Watson shows interest in various facets of filmmaking such as, Directing, Writing, Animation, Motion graphics, and Photography. For A’Montay, filmmaking is about expression and representation. She believes in bringing awareness to her audiences and creating a diverse spectrum within the media. As such, she hopes to inspire others to strive in their own craftsmanship. More importantly, she loves embracing new knowledge and exploring different cultures. An alumna of Howard University with a B.A in Radio, TV, & Film and a double minor in Psychology and Electronic Studio, A’Montay Giddings-Watson currently attends American University as an MFA candidate in Film and Electronic Media.
Kyriakos is a Master’s student in Public Anthropology at American University. He has always had a passion for storytelling, and is now dedicated to using film and media to document the voices and stories of people who often go unheard. Originally from New Jersey, he holds a B.A. in French and Anthropology from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Diana is a second-year MFA candidate who uses film and other forms of art as mediums to share the gospel of Christ, encourage, inspire, enlighten, and uplift. Realizing its power and potential, Diana developed a deep appreciation for storytelling at a young age. Writing has always been at the forefront of her passions. Diana aspires to thrive as an independent filmmaker, using her creativity, deep thoughts, personal experiences, and encounters to create powerful stories that audiences can relate to and benefit from. She also seeks to produce documentaries that will amplify the voices of the unheard, overlooked, and ignored. Diana currently works as an Event Coordinator and Photographer for the 2017 DC Web Fest, founded by Director Otessa Ghadar.
Amberly Alene Ellis
Amberly Alene Ellis is an independent filmmaker, writer and documentarian dedicated to the belief that film is one of our greatest tools to ignite deeper human connection and inspire social change. In 2015 she created Film For The People Productions. Her 2014 documentary Bullets Without Names was selected as an installation at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore to bring awareness to gun violence and was also nominated for Best Documentary at the American Vision’s Awards. She was the recipient of a 2014 Tinker Grant to research cinema and social policy in Cuba at ICAIC, the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry. In 2016 she was awarded a Ruby Artist Grant from the Baltimore Cultural Alliance to film the journeys of ten African American youth from West Baltimore as they travel to Havana Cuba to learn African history. Her writing examines issues of race, gender and culture in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her latest documentary, Hermanas en Ruedas ( Sisters on Wheels) premiered in Havana, Cuba on January of 2017. Hermanas in Ruedas follows the stories of young women in the underground skateboard culture in Havana.
Mike is an MFA student at American University studying Film and Electronic Media. He has had the opportunity to work as a director, cinematographer, and editor on a number of different documentary projects in places ranging from San Francisco, Kenya, Colombia, and Washington DC. After graduating from the University of San Francisco with a BA in International Studies and a minor in Film Studies, Mike gained significant experience as a video producer while working for a few production companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has an innate curiosity of the world and of different cultures, which is what drives him to pursue a career as a visual journalist and documentary filmmaker. Mike hopes to continue to tell stories that shine a light on under-reported events and that give a voice to marginalized groups of people.
Kayla Lattimore is a first year MFA film student at American University concentrating on Social Documentary. After traveling the world and working in television and marketing in Los Angeles four years she decided to get her master’s in documentary film to be able to create impactful work for her community and the world. She aspires to be a producer and create documentaries and content centered around race and social in justice issues in the United States and Latin America.
Destiny D. Owens
Destiny D. Owens is from Rocky Mount, North Carolina. She is a 2016 graduate of North Carolina Central University where she attained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and another Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication with a focus in Journalism and Media Studies. She has a thorough background in writing, historical scholarly research, and documentary work. She is currently enrolled in the MFA Film and Electronic Media program at American University. She believes films are the best way to tell a story and actually make an audience understand and feel the impact of the message on the highest level. She is interested in giving a voice to people and communities who rarely get the chance or platform to speak for themselves. It is all for and about the people for Destiny. She is simply an avenue to the greater goal.
2016 Fellows' Community Stories
Michael has a background in journalism and the labor movement, and a strong interest in using film and video to tell the stories of working families. He is currently coordinating statewide communications for the Maryland Campaign for Paid Sick Days, and co-producing a feature-length documentary about Walmart workers titled “Dear Walmart.” Previously, he has worked as an organizer for the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a communications specialist & video producer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a freelance videographer, and a regional communications director for the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA!). Michael holds a masters’ degree in Producing for Film & Video from American University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism, with a concentration in Latin American studies, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Matt is a current MFA student at American University with a concentration in political, cultural, and social impact. Prior to studying at AU, Matt was a child welfare consultant for The Annie E. Casey Foundation and most recently Kids Insight, an organization dedicated to improving outcomes for youth in foster care. His community arts and film experience includes; creating a community-based youth photography program in Baltimore with Living Classrooms Foundation, assisting in the production of videos in which youth in foster care tell their stories, and creating short documentaries and photo essays profiling Baltimore nonprofit leaders.
Kelsey is an alumna of Stephen F. Austin State University (TX) where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science and communications. After graduating, Kelsey spent two years in Africa with the Peace Corps. She recently earned her Master’s degree in film & electronic media from American University last May. Several of her short films have made the film festival circuit. Currently, she is an Associate Producer for arts and culture programming at Maryland Public Television.
Anna is a visual media producer from Washington, DC. Recently her work was exhibited with the College Art Association and the University of District of Columbia. With a Japanese mother, Swedish father, and a home that migrated from country to country, she frequently found herself in situations where language was either used to include or exclude. Her hope is to use visual media to express and explore themes that can be lost in verbal translation.
Anna is an MFA candidate in American University’s Film and Electronic Media program, with a BA from Georgetown University in Linguistics and Performance Studies.
Alexis is currently pursuing a master’s degree in film and video. She recently served as a co-director and co-writer for “Chesapeake Footsoldiers,” a documentary for Maryland Public Television’s 2016 Chesapeake Bay Week. As an alumna of the AU School of Public Affairs, Alexis is passionate about social justice and storytelling. Outside of class, Alexis performs standup comedy in the DC area. She currently works in higher education fundraising. Following graduation, Alexis hopes to pursue a career in film and television development or screenwriting.
I was born and raised in New York City and attended CUNY: Brooklyn College where I majored in Film Studies and minored in Education. I was a grade school teacher for the past decade in New York and California. I enjoy spending time with my family: my husband Adam, my cat Shachar, and my dog Phaedra. I also enjoy watching and creating media (films, videos, etc.), travelling, taking photos, collecting magnets, listening to oldies music, and teaching whenever I get the chance. I am thrilled to be a part of CVP and grateful for this opportunity.
My name is Steve Rosenberg and I’m a second year MFA student in the Film and Electronic Media program at American University. In 2011, I also graduated from AU as an undergraduate with a Broadcast Journalism degree and a minor in Justice. Growing up in South Jersey, I always had a passion for filmmaking and writing. After a three-year hiatus of working in law, I decided to come back into the world of media. It was this decision, which led me to come back to school to refine my skills as a storyteller for both narrative and documentary films.
Vincent is currently a second year MFA candidate at American University in the Film and Electronic Media program. Currently, Vincent creates media in both fiction and non-fiction. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Film Studies from the University of North Florida, with a concentration in Ethics and Documentary Studies. Throughout his undergraduate program Vincent served as Philosophy Club President and as a Creator for an on campus Documentary Program AfterImage Productions. His work focuses on the Jacksonville community and were screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville from 2012-2014.