NPR

To Answer Hollywood's Diversity Problem, California Program Hands Kids The Camera

This weekend, Youth Cinema Project students screened their films for the public. The program aims to create a pipeline to get kids of color in underachieving schools into the filmmaking industry.
Leonissa Duarte, 18, left, and Freddy Tijerino, 18, star in director Anali Cabrera's film Luna at Moonlight, set at the Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale, CA. Source: Courtesy of Anali Cabrera

At Union Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles, a classroom of fifth grade students are buzzing during the last week of school.

The students are high-fiving, grabbing popcorn and forming a circle around a makeshift stage.

One of those students is Dylan Martinez — he's here to celebrate a movie he made.

"My film is about a scared plumber," Martinez says. "We pretty much put all the scripts together, all the screens together, went to the places where we filmed our scenes, and we edited, put music, looked for music, and that's it!"

Martinez and his classmates are part of the Youth Cinema Project,

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