November 17, 2016
We imagine a world where all youth have the skills to tell their stories and equal opportunity for their voices to be heard.
Mobile Film Classroom develops the next generation of storytellers by bringing digital media training to underserved youth.


A Bully's Regret
A Bully's Regret
(In every we workshop we lead, at least 1 team makes a film about bullying,  regardless  of grade. Our kids know right from wrong.)

Dear MFC Friends,

Art : something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings

Resilience : the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens

I've been thinking about these two words lately, mainly because this past Saturday the Mobile Film Classroom had the privilege to collaborate with Hollywood Heart for our 8 th project together. They run the summer camp for teens impacted by HIV/AIDS where MFC has taught documentary filmmaking since 2012. On Saturday, they condensed the week long experience of camp into one day, called Arts & Resiliency for teen girls from Rosemary's Children Services in Pasadena. These girls are in foster care, are the most vulnerable of our young people and have experienced a lot of trauma. We set out with an impossible task - 5 girls who had never before made a film were to document the days activity and screen it at day's end. We started at 9AM with showing them the basics of framing and shot composition and handed each of them Flip cameras for a 15 minute filming challenge. They then uploaded their footage to learn basic editing. That led to talking about the theme of the day with the girls coming up with questions to ask other participants. They learned how to interview, operate a DSLR camera, set up lights and use lavaliere microphones. 2 girls did the interviews while the other 3 filmed b-roll of the music and fashion team skills. Everyone regrouped on the MFC, uploaded their footage and began to edit interviews, cut the b-roll and assemble it on the timeline for a cohesive 6-minute narrative. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure it was possible. But these girls, who have been through so much, kept at it. Anari discovered she liked editing & persevered to trim interview clips down to concise soundbites, eating pizza in front of the computer instead of taking a break for dinner like the others, to complete the film. I think Art helps us to be Resilient. I think we are going to need this even more in the days, weeks and years to come. I also think that Media Arts Education & Media Literacy is more crucial than ever. Making a film teaches creative and critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving and listening skills to build empathy. Media literacy enables students to critique content and filter out factual content from propaganda. If 72% of employers (according to a 2007 Ready To Work Study), say creativity is the # 1 skill they seek in hiring, then the rest of these skills are what we need to be able to live, work and thrive together as a country.

Organizationally, this past year has been one of resilience, by accepting the need to change to be able to move forward. In 2012 when the Mary Pickford Foundation withdrew funding for MFC's parent organization, The Mary Pickford Institute, I took a leap of faith that MFC could survive & thrive on it's own as a public charity. There were no cash reserves, no funding at all except for upcoming contracts with Hollywood Heart and the County of Los Angeles Public Library. I'm eternally grateful to our original board of directors who worked very hard to help MFC accomplish big achievements, such as successfully completing the Annenberg Foundation's Alchemy+ program. However, we weren't making progress with individual fundraising. Through participation in Stanford University Graduate School of Business' Executive Program for Non Profit Leaders and Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas' 2 nd District Capacity Building program, I learned what qualities, skill sets and connections to MFC's mission were needed in board members to undertake a year-long, thoughtful rebuild of our Board of Directors. I'm delighted to welcome our 3 new board members:

Heather Goodwillie, Director of Mobile Services for Sixteen 19, managing the movement and overseeing the installation of Avid editing equipment, worldwide for films shot on location and mother to two MFC students.

Tanya M. DiggsHead of marketing for Jet Center Los Angeles and Advanced Air , LLC , a premier private aviation and charter company.  She has over 20 years of experience leading teams for both advertising agencies and internal corporate marketing teams worked with major consumer brands and start-up companies. 

Kara MondinoCurrently with UCLA's Mobile Eye Clinic , earned her Masters in Non Profit Administration from the University of San Francisco and has worked in the nonprofit field for over 10 years. She has been collaborating with the Mobile Film Classroom for over 5 years in her former role as Executive Director of Hollywood Heart.
From our inception in 2012 to now, 80% of our funding comes from our contracts with LAUSD, County of Los Angeles Public Library, charter schools and other non profit organizations. Having a strong stream of earned income shows the demand for our program. We been asked to lead workshops as far away as Montana and Truckee, CA, using our iPad kits. This has always been my original vision since filing for 501(c)3 status - to grow our program beyond LA County to other parts of California and across the country. I'm convinced there is even more need in rural areas of the United States for our program where we can teach a full menu of digital media skills including coding, transcoding, VR and website design, while incorporating the listening and storytelling skills that fosters understanding, empathy and 21st Century job skills. It is hard to 'other' people once you've truly heard their story. 

 But to get to this bigger vision, we need your help now. We need to raise $15,000 by December 31, 2016 to give us 6 months of basic operating expenses. Each month we have to for pay insurance, secure RV parking, bookkeeping, internet and utilities regardless if we are teaching or not. The reality of relying on income from contracts with government agencies like LAUSD or LA County is that we provide all services up front & can only invoice once those services are completed, then have to wait up to 45 days to get paid. In the meantime, we still have to fill the gas tank on the RV (usually $200-250 per tank), to get to the sites to be able to teach the kids, provide snacks for our after school programs. (95% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch), which makes our teaching artists wait to be paid. What happens if we need to replace a tire or the generator needs a tune up or if the MFC is involved in a fender bender? We have more contracts with LAUSD, the County of LA Library and several charter schools come Spring 2017, but the reality is we won't see any income before mid-March. How will we meet our insurance payments without your help? This past year, I've forgone compensation because we couldn't afford it. I was very lucky to be raised by middle class parents from the Silent Generation. They lived through the depression as kids, so saved and planned They both passed away recently, which gave me a small cushion to volunteer all my time to MFC for a limited time frame. It is because I've been so fortunate to have parents that supported me that I'm committed to making MFC successful. I also benefitted from arts education starting in 3 rd grade. I was awful at math and was always last to be picked for any sport. I loved old movies (1930's era), from the age of 6, which was also the age when I started 1 st grade by being bused to an inner city school with about 12 other white kids in the first year of school integration in Memphis, TN. I'm sharing all this with you because this is why I do what I do, why it matters so much to me that every kid, regardless of their zip code or cultural background has the opportunity, tools and mentors to help them discover their voice and succeed. This is why every time a girl like Anari discovers an ability she didn't know she had, I'm willing to prioritize putting gas in the MFC tank over a paycheck for myself.  But this is not sustainable and in the long run will mean less Anari's will be given the same opportunity. This is where you come in - we have set up a CrowdRise crowdfunding campaign To Fuel Kids' Potential!  - if each of you makes a $25 tax-deductible donation, we will exceed our goal! We get to keep all money raised even if we don't reach our $15,000 goal. If you are so inspired, you can set up your own fundraising campaign for MFC within the CrowdRise platform by creating your own team. (Please check and see if your employer matches donations). Please contact me for more details. I know many of us have felt adrift on where to channel our energies or feel ineffectual to make a difference lately, but contributing to programs like ours does move the needle. I'm heartened by LAUSD students' organized walk outs - they are our future - lets equip them the best we can to be able to amplify their voices! I also recommend checking out our Tumblr B-Roll for recent articles, including this episode of my favorite podcast, On Being, for a conversation with the late Civil Rights activist Vincent Harding, "Is America Possible?" Resiliency is a longer term commitment. In the short term, we need your commitment. 

With gratitude,

Manon Banta
Executive Director

To see pictures, videos and hear stories, read more on our   B-Roll Blog.

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Mobile Film Classroom
239 ½ S. Hoover Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
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Thanks to our donors for their generosity:

Annenberg Foundation
CA Media Arts CTE Grant
The Cinematographers Guild
IATSE Local 600  
The Flourish Foundation
The Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Charitable Foundation
Pepperdine University
Rovi Corporation
Catalina Ausin
Rosemary Banta
Geoffrey Berliner
Paul Bordello
Elizabeth Bogush
David Brisbin
Janice Burgess
Tom & Elizabeth Coldicutt
Charles Coleman
John Crossley, Sr.
Libby Curiel
Tim David
Peri Donch
Terri Anne Drescher
Vicki Fenton
Karen Greenberg
Virginia Gonzales
Dena Hysell
Andi Hicks
Leslie Fletcher Husain
Brown Johnson
Jeff Kober
May Lee
Guy Logan
Roger Lowenstein
Suzanne Masterson
Bridget McCarthy
Jani & David McGuire
Lisa Motel
Tom Nelson
Nicki Newburger
Melinda Sue Norin
Mike Norin
Daniel Nyiri
Julia Pastor
Claire Peeps
Tanya Pontep
Richard Rudman
Harry Schultz
Adele Slaughter
Kendal Stavros
Marie Stein
Mary Tutor
Thanks to our Corporate donors for their generosity with in kind donations:

Rode Mics
Quixote Studios
Samy's Camera
Sunset Bronson Studios
Trader Joe's

Consider joining them by clicking on Donate Now to support the MFC. We're happy to accept equipment donations if you've recently upgraded a camera or iPad or Mac computer.

Mobile Film Classroom is a 501c3 non profit organization
(424) 704-1MFC (1632)