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Charity begins with kids – Pasadena Weekly
Tige Charity’s Kids in the Spotlight program takes children through the filmmaking process from beginning to end
By Carl Kozlowski 02/03/2011
After getting laid off from a longtime career in corporate America, Tige Charity faced the dilemma of a lifetime: stay in the rat race and find another job, or follow her heart and do something that might be a risk but could help others. Her choice two years ago to launch Kids in the Spotlight (KITS) has already changed the lives of dozens of disadvantaged and foster children across Los Angeles.
The group, which she founded and directs with her friend Sharon Hogg, teaches kids how to write a short-film script in five-person teams and then lets them participate in the filmmaking process — all the way from casting through a gala screening.
Now KITS is about to embark on its first foray into working with Pasadena-area children, teaming up with the Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services group home to pick 10 kids for the current round of the 10-week program, which starts Tuesday.
Charity is hoping that interested locals will help raise the $8,900 she needs in order to fund the projects of the 10 kids at Hathaway-Sycamores and the 10 others who are participating simultaneously at the Penny Lane foster facility in North Hills. As she’s learned, the KITS projects teach a lot more than just creative and technical skills; they can affect lives on much deeper levels.
“They learn teamwork skills through collaborating and respect one another’s ideas and creativity,” says Charity. “Working on this gives them a sense of accomplishment and boosts their self-esteem. We’re enabling them to finish something that we think will help them rise above their current circumstances in life.”
The program is fun but intense, as KITS works with 10 children or teens who are picked by officials at each foster care program or school. Schools that have participated include Willowbrook Middle School, Centennial High School in Compton, and the Wings of Refuge Family Service Agency in Los Angeles. Divided into two five-member teams, the participants have the final goal of creating a short film that runs 10 minutes or less, but which can be either a drama or comedy.
The first five weeks consist of screenwriting classes in which the children learn tone and story structure, then develop plot, themes, protagonists and antagonists and map out the full outline of their story. Once the scripts are completed, the scripts are protected by Writers Guild of America registration before the students embark on three weeks of acting classes, which teach better development of characters and culminate in casting sessions.
“The kids have to audition for their own films because writing them doesn’t automatically mean starring in them,” says Charity. “We want to teach them to make the best possible film. Then they have two weeks of production, with full exposure to wardrobe, makeup, a camera crew and set designs as we shoot the films in eight- to 10-hour timeframes.”
The end results wind up screened in a gala event in October called the Movies By Kids, For Kids Annual Film Festival, complete with an awards ceremony. Seeing corporations help out — such as Final Draft donating sets of its coveted and expensive screenwriting software — as well as seeing dozens of professional crew members and actors donating their time before watching the final results on the big screen at prime locations like Raleigh Studios or this year’s hoped-for venue at the WGA Theater undoubtedly creates memories that last a lifetime.
“It was especially touching working with Wings of Refuge, because their stories were dramatic but realistic to their experience,” says Charity. “They worked with abandonment themes and themes of how words can hurt, to think of how what you say can really damage someone. They might have felt abandoned or teased. We’re giving them a platform to have their voices get heard on a wide-ranging scale.”
THE GOOD WORD
Celebrating Success at DCFS
December 29, 2010 Vol. 1, No. 18
Teens Invited to Free Screening of Short Films Created by Young Filmmakers in a Free “Kids in the Spotlight” Program at the Central Library’s Teen’Scape
Saturday, November 6, 2-4 p.m. at the Central Library’s Teen’Scape
Kids in the Spotlight ‘Jordan’ Awards brings out the stars in Hollywood
November 7th, 2010 4:42 pm PT by Bob Leggett – Griffith Park/Los Feliz Examiner
The stars were in abundance at the First Annual Movies by Kids, For Kids Film Festival and Awards Ceremony, which took place on Saturday, October 30, at the world-famous Raleigh Studios on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Hosting the event were none other than The View’s Sherri Shepherd and The Matrix Reloaded’s Harry J. Lennix.
The film festival and awards ceremony were the culmination of the first 18 months of the Kids in the Spotlight program. This program was birthed as a vision by its founder and Executive Director, Tige Charity, and has developed into a state-of-the-art training program for foster care and underprivileged kids between the ages of 11 and 17 in the Los Angeles area.
Kids in the Spotlight provides ten weeks of training in the art of scriptwriting, casting, acting and film-making. With the assistance of Tige and the multi-talented staff she has assembled, these kids are afforded the opportunity to tell their own personal story in their own way. Among those assisting Tige are her husband, Antonio, Ed Broaddus, Reginald Nelson, Co-Director Sharon Hogg and Program Director T. Faye Griffin.
Tige has also assembled a talented board of directors as well, which includes Law & Order: SVU writer Robert F. Campbell, actress and local businesswoman Claudia Wells, Audrey Brooks, Cynthia Stafford, Jan Coleman and Marilyn Beaubien.
Out of the various projects completed in the past 18 months, a panel of experts picked eight films to showcase at this premier film festival. Those pictures were as follows: The Other Way Around, The Weird Ones, Rescue of the Four, The Lonely Ones, Drama Between Teens, Out in These Streets, The Captive and What Lays in Tiffany’s Mind. From these eight pictures, the panel picked the individuals who would receive the program’s equivalent of the Oscar, known as the ‘Jordan.’ The awards were named in memory of actress Alicia “Jordan” Mallory, a true patron of the arts and a friend of the program.
Among the presenters were some of the elite black actors in Hollywood, including Numb3rs’ Alimi Ballard, Sister Act 2 director and actor Bill Duke, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Dawnn Lewis, Lakeview Terrace’s Regine Nehy and Community’s Yvette Nicole Brown. Other celebrities taking part as presenters were Imani Hakim, Alphonso McAuley, Jamia Nash, Andrea Wiley, Kathryn Kavanagh, Parker McKenna Posey, Venue Manuel, Renee Moncito, Tajh Bellow, Malcolm David Kelley and Jenn Gotzon. Rounding out the presenters was Trish Ploehn, the Director of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.
After screening the eight films, the following awards were bestowed:
Spirit Award – Daveion Thompson, writer of The Lonely Ones
Best Ensemble Cast - The Other Way Around
Best Screenplay/Story – What Lays in Tiffany’s Mind
Best Supporting Actor – Gilberto Moran, The Weird Ones
Best Actor - Karim Mohammed, The Other Way Around
Best Film – The Captive
Award of Merit – Rescue of the Four
The event also included a wonderful VIP Reception before the film festival and awards ceremony, as well as a silent auction to raise funds for the program. The celebrity presenters as well as the award-winning kids also participated in the Red Carpet Ceremony in the Studio Cafe at Raleigh.
This was a most worthy event and I felt honored to be a part of it. I even won one of the silent auction items. I look forward to being more involved and in bringing you more information about Kids in the Spotlight and the incredible work they do. Please check out www.kidsinthespotlight.org for more information.
Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think. If you are looking for a worthy charity to help, you could not do wrong by helping Kids in the Spotlight reach out to help the foster care and underprivileged kids who need this creative outlet.
NON-PROFIT TAKES A CUE FROM HOLLYWOOD:
UNDERSERVED YOUTH SHARE THEIR STORIES THROUGH THE ART OF FILMMAKING
Kids In The Spotlight’s First Annual Red-Carpet Fundraiser Showcases and Awards 10-Minute Films Created by, Written by, Cast by and Starring…Kids!
Los Angeles, CA (October 4, 2010) – Surrounded by the tools and creativity of the entertainment industry, Kids In The Spotlight, Inc. a non-profit organization that promotes and stimulates positive self-images for kids in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, takes a cue from Hollywood with a program that trains underserved youth and those in foster care facilities to create, write, cast and star in their own 10-minute short films. Celebrating and recognizing their hard work, the program culminates in a red-carpet film festival and awards ceremony similar to Oscar® night.
This year, Kids in The Spotlight’s first annual Movies By Kids, For Kids Film Festival will be hosted by Daytime Emmy® Award winner Sherri Shepherd and celebrated actor of film and television Harry J. Lennix on Saturday, October 30th at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles. The pair will be recognizing participants ranging from ages 11 to 17 who took part in the ten-week program and were taught the essentials of filmmaking using software and equipment often reserved for professionals in the industry.
“Although the kids in the program live in the ‘entertainment capital’, the concept of what it takes to put a film together is still a foreign idea. Kids In The Spotlight takes this medium, and uses it as a motivational tool, with the end product providing them with a sense of ownership and accomplishment,” said Tige Charity, founder and executive director of Kids In The Spotlight, Inc. “The program makes full use of our local resources and offers a safe and creative environment that encourages kids to rise above their current social and economic conditions and reach for something they never thought was possible.”
The film festival serves to celebrate the participant’s hard work as well as raise funds to continue the program and benefit more kids. Similar to Hollywood industry award ceremonies, the festival will be announcing awards for:
• Best Film
• Best Actor
• Best Supporting Actor
• Best Ensemble
• Best Screenplay/Story
To learn more about Kids in the Spotlight and the Movies By Kids, For Kids Film Festival, log onto www.kidsinthespotlight.org
Space is limited for the one-night film festival, and pre-purchasing of tickets is encouraged for this extraordinary event.
When: Saturday, October 30th
V.I.P. Reception: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Awards Ceremony: 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Where: Raleigh Studios
5300 Melrose Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90038
Tickets: V.I.P. Tickets $50 (red carpet arrival/ appetizer reception/ silent auction/ gift bag)
General Admission: $30 (award ceremony)
Ticket purchases can be made at www.kidsinthespotlight.org
**All tickets are non-refundable as all proceeds benefit Kids in the Spotlight, Inc.
This event is for those ages 10 and over.
About Kids in the Spotlight
Kids in the Spotlight, Inc. (KITS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in May 2009. The program provides underserved youth with an introduction to, and training for the art of filmmaking. The program provides a safe environment for kids to express themselves while cultivating interest in film industry careers which are prevalent in Los Angeles. Additionally, KITS promotes teamwork, creativity and discipline, resulting in a better self-image and a sense of accomplishment that engenders a greater belief in a child’s ability to rise above his or her current social and economic conditions in order to realize their dreams.
New Non-Profit K.I.T.S. Makes “Movies by Kids, for Kids.”
Los Angeles, CA (November 2009) – Announcing Kids In The Spotlight, Inc., a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that trains youth in foster care programs and other underserved youth to create, write, cast and star in their own 10-minute short films. This training culminates into an annual film festival competition presenting “Movies by Kids, for Kids”. This program allows kids to express themselves through filmmaking and encourages interest in careers in the movie industry. The teamwork, creativity and discipline required to complete the short films will help the young participants develop a better self-image and a sense of accomplishment that will engender a greater belief in their ability to rise above their current social and economic conditions.
KITS conducts four 10-week workshops each year. Each workshop provides 20 young participants (ages 10-17) introductory training that enables them to create, write, cast and star in their own short films. During this 10-week period, the students are given five weeks of training in screenwriting using software donated by Final Draft, Inc. The students are placed in four groups of five to write their own screenplays, which they star in. Upon completion of the 5 weeks of screenwriting, they transition into 3 weeks of acting lessons. At the end of the acting lessons, one day is dedicated to a casting session for any additional roles in each of their scripts. The last two weeks of the program is used to film each of their short films. When the four workshops and the 20 films are completed, KITS will host an annual film festival competition and present “Movies by Kids, for Kids”. The film festival presents the students with the opportunity to meet casting directors, filmmakers, writers, agents and other professionals in the industry, which KITS expects will lead to internships and/or employment opportunities for the students.
KITS is currently in the first full run of its program at Henry Clay Middle School in Los Angeles, CA. The kids’ scripts have been registered with the Writers Guild of America West, which issued each child a certificate of their registered script. Those students go into production on December 7, 2009. In January of 2010, KITS will start its program simultaneously at Wings of Refuge Family Service Agency and at Willowbrook Middle School in Compton. This program is free-of-charge for the kids who participate. KITS plans to shoot 20 short films each year and relies solely on sponsors, grants, financial contributions and in-kind donations, such as the software donated by Final Draft, to offer this amazing program.