There is almost nothing else in this world more pleasing to watch than little kids having fun, laughing and doing what they love. With A Backpack Journalist, kids get the chance to do just that.
A Backpack Journalist is an organization that provides various workshops for youth to build self-esteem and friendships with a focus on journalism and photography. They are “encouraging [the students] to become their own life’s storyteller.”
For this particular event, the Backpack Journalists created their own, UNEDITED BY ADULTS (that point was made very clear) short films and interviewed prominent civil rights leaders of Charleston. The “Film Festival” took place in the Charleston County Library and consisted of three acts.
After an introduction from Backpack Journalist Linda Dennis and a young boy’s speech concluding with, “I hope everyone has fun!,” the lights dimmed and the show began.
In a film entitled, “The History of the Charleston Maritime Industry,” viewers experienced what these children learned on their trip to the Charleston Harbor. Through interviews with current Harbor Pilots and the Army Corps of Engineers, the film captured the past, present and future of Charleston’s ports. It was an intelligent and creative view on just how Charleston had been shaped by the ships that come and go from these waters, from it’s non-discriminatory beginnings enforced by Robert Scott Small, to it’s future of helping high schoolers achieve jobs in the industry. Oh, and did I mention the entire film was edited and directed by a 15-year-old?
I have not laughed that hard in a long while, or “ooohed and ahhed” as much either. In act two, each Backpack Journalist youth was given the opportunity to share their short films, and the results were entertaining and inspiring. They had been given iPads and the prompt to create a six-word story about any given field trip. The options ranged from the previously mentioned ports to Colonial Lake to Fort Sumter. Colonial Lake apparently has a lot of ghosts and possibly aliens, and smiling at the camera with a thumbs up is the new mode of selfies.
Charleston’s history is tied very closely with that of the civil rights movement. Yet, as the years go by, there aren’t as many around to tell first hand accounts and experiences. That is why the Backpacks Journalists were on a mission to find and interview some prominent civil rights names in the Charleston area. In Act Three’s film, there were interviews with men such as Charles “Bud” Ferillo (who actually attended the screening that day!), Cecil Williams and Jack Bass. This sent a message to these kids and to us viewers watching that yes, even ordinary people can be heroes.
To find out more about A Backpack Journalist and/or find out more about upcoming events, check out their website here.
“You may pay for your beliefs, but stick to them because they’re only for you. They are your strong moral force in the storm.”-Charles “Bud” Ferillo