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Thursday, Dec 8, 2022
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Warner Bros. Greenlights Student Films

Warner Bros. Entertainment wrapped this month the second seasons of two in-school programs that reached more than 3,500 middle and high school students in Los Angeles Unified School District. Through a partnership with the district and the nonprofits Young Storytellers and Ghetto Film School, the two programs – WB Story Lab and WB First Cut – are designed to cultivate the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers. Last year, the program served about 1,500 students. Dee Dee Myers, head of corporate communications for the Burbank studio, said that after the success of its first year, the company wanted to grow the program and reach more students. “With Warner Bros.’ invaluable partners at Los Angeles Unified, Young Storytellers and Ghetto Film School, we’re proud be investing in programs that create opportunities for new voices,” Myers said in a statement. WB Story Lab, developed with Young Storytellers, a nonprofit based in the Arts District in downtown L.A., and the school district’s arts education branch and division of instruction, is a curriculum for sixth-grade students using DC Entertainment superheroes to get the students thinking about their own “super powers” and the heroes in their lives. The program included writing assignments, autobiographical comic books and oral presentations. Warner Bros. hosted the program’s end-of-season showcase on its Burbank lot, where a gallery of WB Story Lab students’ autobiographical superheroes was on display at a block party on Midwest Street, celebrating the work and dedication of more than 1,500 sixth-grade students and 26 teachers from 11 middle schools who participated last year. Bill Thompson, executive director of Young Storytellers, said that Story Lab gives the students the confidence to voice their stories. “It’s been so rewarding to see these young people empowered to embrace their differences and share their unique stories because of their experiences with this extraordinary program,” Thompson said in a statement. WB First Cut involved 2,000 high school students from 16 participating high schools who produced 300 original, dialogue-free short films during the spring semester. Ghetto Film School educators trained the media and non-media teachers from the district, who then chose from three versions of the curriculum: commercial/PSA, inanimate object or film noir. The students learn to use filmmaking equipment, from tablets to digital cameras. The studio hosted an end-of-season showcase on the lot and then premiered the student-produced films for the first time at the Steven J. Ross Theater. Individuality, anti-bullying, acceptance and respect were prominent themes of the films screened. Ghetto Film School Chief Executive Stosh Mintek said that the nonprofit works with young filmmakers every day and that the Warner Bros. program extends that opportunity to even more young people to express themselves.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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