Burbank, CA – Following the successful 2018 launches of WB Story Lab and WB First Cut, Warner Bros. has wrapped the second seasons of the two in-school programs, doubling its impact this year to reach more than 3,500 students among Los Angeles middle- and high-schools. Through a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District and nonprofits Young Storytellers and Ghetto Film School (GFS), these programs are designed to cultivate the next generation of storytellers and filmmakers by offering participating students the opportunity to gain hard and soft storytelling skills, as well as unprecedented access to the industry.
“One of the pillars of our WB Good platform is to give young people the tools and space to be storytellers. After the success of our inaugural year with WB Story Lab and WB First Cut, we really wanted to grow the program and reach even more young people,” said Dee Dee Myers, EVP, Worldwide Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Warner Bros. “With Warner Bros.’ invaluable partners at Los Angeles Unified, Young Storytellers and Ghetto Film School, we’re proud to be investing in programs that create opportunities for new voices.”
“Since first introducing these programs last year, we are so fortunate to have had an even stronger Season Two that made a positive impact on even more of our students,” said Dr. Frances Gipson, Chief Academic Officer for Los Angeles Unified. “Our dedicated partners have provided teachers with an incredible opportunity to engage and inspire students to discover their own voices and talents through the power of storytelling.”
WB Story Lab is designed to inspire a generation of young people to recognize the power and value of their own voices. Through a teach-the-teacher model, WB Story Lab delivers original, in-school curriculum to sixth-grade middle school students that focuses on core storytelling skills while reinforcing confidence, empathy and personal voice through self-reflection and creativity. Warner Bros.’ DC lent its iconic DC Super Heroes as a tool to get students to think about heroes in their lives and their own “super powers,” learning key methods of storytelling through writing assignments, autobiographical comic books and oral presentations as they create their own original superhero-inspired stories. Warner Bros. hosted the program’s end-of-season showcase on its Burbank lot, where a gallery of WB Story Lab students’ autobiographical superheroes – ranging from Mr. Mind and The Communicator to Power Grid and Captain Helpful – was on display at a block party on Midwest Street, celebrating the hard work and dedication of more than 1,500 sixth-grade students and 26 teachers from 11 middle schools who participated this year.
“WB Story Lab has given thousands of young students the confidence to truly voice their individual stories at a time in their lives when recognizing their unique voices is important,” said Bill Thompson, Executive Director, Young Storytellers. “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.”
WB First Cut provides filmmaking skills to high-school students who may not have had access and exposure to this method of creative storytelling. Both media and non-media teachers are trained by GFS’s educators to participate in the in-class program, which allows teachers to choose from three versions of the curriculum: commercial/PSA, inanimate object or film noir. Featuring hands-on experience with equipment ranging from tablets to DSLR cameras, students learn the value of teamwork and storytelling while gaining fundamental filmmaking skills as they work together in groups to produce an original, dialogue-free short film by the semester’s end. Warner Bros. hosted WB First Cut’s end-of-season showcase with a festive pre-party on Brownstone Street to kick off the premiere screenings of student-produced films, debuting for the first time inside the Studio’s famed Steven J. Ross Theater. Individuality, anti-bullying, acceptance and respect were prominent themes of the films screened that night, each of which were elected by the 23 teachers and more than 2,000 students – who produced a collective 300 films through WB First Cut this year – to represent the 16 participating high schools.
“The Ghetto Film School team works with young filmmakers every day, and the WB First Cut program extends the opportunity for even more young people to express themselves creatively through filmmaking,” said Stosh Mintek, CEO, Ghetto Film School. “In collaboration with our partners at Warner Bros. and Los Angeles Unified, we’re able to introduce these young students to a new method of storytelling, thereby nurturing the next generation of great American storytellers.”
To learn more about these programs, please visit www.wbgood.com.
About Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. is a global leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms. A WarnerMedia Company, the fully integrated, broad-based Studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD and Blu-ray, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, and broadcasting.
About Los Angeles Unified School District
Second largest in the nation, the Los Angeles Unified School District enrolls more than 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at nearly 1,000 schools. The boundaries spread over 720 square miles and include the mega-city of Los Angeles as well as all or parts of 31 smaller municipalities and several additional unincorporated sections of Southern California. L.A. Unified is a progressive leader in education, providing a dynamic and inspiring learning experience where all students graduate ready for success.
About Young Storytellers
At Young Storytellers, our mission is simple: we inspire young people to discover the power of their voice. Using one-on-one mentorship, low-income students learn how to write original stories and see them brought to life on stage and film. From this experience, they learn that their voice matters.
About Ghetto Film School
Ghetto Film School (GFS) is an award-winning nonprofit founded in 2000 to educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers. With locations in New York City, Los Angeles and London, GFS is the most elite and inclusive film academy in the world, equipping students for top universities and careers in the creative industries through two tracks: an introductory education program for high school students, and early-career support for alumni and young professionals.