Raino Isto F'20

Raino  Isto

Leading Edge Fellowships 2020
Educational Video Center
Appointed to the Educational Video Center for the project "Amplifying the Youth Artist Activist Archive"
PhD, Art History and Archaeology, University of Maryland

Celebrating its 35th anniversary, EVC is an award-winning non-profit youth media organization dedicated to teaching documentary video as a means to develop the artistic, critical literacy, and career skills of young people, while nurturing their idealism and commitment to social change. Over the last three decades, we have supported positive life and career paths for 27,000 underserved youth, shared our proven media arts methodology with 15,000 practitioners, trained 1,100 teachers in our student-centered, culturally-responsive pedagogy, and received over 5 million global impressions for 200+ highly acclaimed youth-produced documentaries in our archive that have won over 130 awards. EVC works with historically marginalized youth who attend some of NYC’s poorest performing public high schools, where little or no media arts education is available. Of our total participants, 95% are youth of color, 80% live in poverty, 30% are immigrants and ELLs, 15% identify as LGBTQ+ and 70% are court/social services involved. For over 35 years EVC students have produced theatrical-quality short films on social justice issues impacting them and their communities. Our award winning archive of artful youth produced films explore topics such as police brutality, healthcare inequity, environmental racism, unequal education, gentrification, mental health struggles, LGBTQ+ discrimination and more. Given the current state of our world, it is critical that people continue to educate themselves about the ongoing legacies of structural racism and systems of oppression from those most impacted - particularly young people. Since our founding EVC has been committed to equity in who gets to tell these stories by amplifying youth voices and increasing the visibility of our incomparable archive of youth-produced documentary films created over the last three decades. EVC is gearing up to embark on a strategic planning process that will include new fundraising plans and strategy to increase all sources of funding to take our innovative youth media programming and youth-produced films to the next level. The Leading Edge Fellow will support the strategic direction and implementation of a development program to support EVC’s strategic objectives, particularly the distribution of its rare archive.