SAN ANTONIO — The Eastside Youth Content Creators Program (EYCCP) was a pilot project developed to introduce the art of filmmaking to east-side high school students.
“A lot of people think we’re uneducated because of where we come from…the east side of San Antonio,” said Todjai Dotson, a passionate Sam Houston High School student. “I’m here to show people that it’s not all about that…people of color can be talented and we’ve got big dreams too.”
The idea started in the office of District 2 councilman Jalen McKee Rodriguez who collaborated with Alamo City Studios to bring it to life. 24 students were selected out of 60 applicants and 21 of them completed the six-week program proudly ending their experience with a red carpet graduation showcase at the Carver Cultural Center where their short films debuted for friends, family, and new fans.
“There’s a lot of gaps in what’s provided for kids on the east side,” explained Councilman McKee Rodriguez. “[Alamo City Studios] is an asset that we have on the east side, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be benefiting our kids.”
The program was free to all participants. They were bus transported each week from Sam Houston High School to Alamo City Studios where film industry professionals lead them in hands-on courses including directing, acting, script writing, and more. By the end of the program, students who had never touched a studio camera had produced their first short films. Many of them are already looking forward to landing full-time careers in the business.
“We’ve already initiated outreach with other film festivals and other film organizations so that way next year the students themselves are going to these festivals and meeting other student filmmakers in their community and really starting to bridge that gap all of 2023,” said Kerry Valderrama, CEO of Alamo City Studios.
During the program, one student was recruited for an internship, another was signed to a talent agency, and one of the student films was accepted into a local film festival. To learn more about EYCCP, click here.