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Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo Presents $500,000 in State Funding to the Latino Film Institute to Support the Youth Cinema Project

Assemblywoman Carrillo visits the Latino Film Institute for check presentation of secured state funding to provide equity and access to the entertainment industry for low-income students

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  • Judith Gutierrez
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Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo holds large symbolic check of $500,000 for the Latino Film Institute (LFI) with Actor/Producer Edward James Olmos and LFI leadership.

LOS ANGELES - Today, Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo presented a $500,000 check to the Latino Film Institute (LFI) for the Youth Cinema Project (YCP), LFI’s signature program tailored for Title I public schools, emphasizing in-classroom project-based learning. YCP concentrates on social and emotional learning and English language development, aiming to offer equitable opportunities and access to students, especially in low-income communities.

"Today marks a significant leap in our dedication to nurturing the talents and dreams of young minds in Los Angeles. This $500,000 allocation to the Latino Film Institute's Youth Cinema Project represents not just funding, but a profound belief in the transformative power of film and education. It's a commitment to the future of our diverse communities," said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo. "This initiative, at its core, aligns with our objective to empower youth, inspire creativity, and bridge cultural and educational gaps, particularly in underserved Latino and low-income communities facing challenges in resources and language. Together, we are setting the stage for a future where every young person has the opportunity to express themselves, learn critical skills, and contribute to a vibrant, inclusive society."

The Youth Cinema Project was founded by Edward James Olmos - an actor, producer, and humanitarian - under the Latino Film Institute, which is dedicated to creating infrastructure for equity, diversity, and excellence for the Latino community in the entertainment industry. YCP is an in-depth, in-class filmmaking program for grades 5-12, where filmmakers and teachers guide 30 students through a curriculum aligned with academic standards, focusing on teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. 

Since its launch, in 2013, at one school district in Southern California, YCP has grown and now serves 14 school districts throughout the state, serving over 1,500 students a year.

"The Youth Cinema Project is not just any artistic educational program; it's a life-changing experience that forms resilient and problem-solving graduates and leaders. I am deeply honored to see how it has flourished, reaching out to over 1500 students across California,” said Edward James Olmos, Actor, Producer, Humanitarian and Founder & Board Chairman of the Latino Film Institute. “This generous funding from the state is a testament to our collective belief in the power of storytelling and its ability to shape the minds and futures of our youth. We are committed to continuing this journey, ensuring that every young voice, especially those from underserved communities, is heard and valued."

In 2019, the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE) conducted an evaluative study to investigate how YCP was meeting its goals and impact on student language development and social-emotional learning, as perceived by teachers and students. In its assessment, the report drew upon the challenges faced by public education in closing the achievement gaps and graduation rates that exist amongst diverse populations and demands for districts to meet new standards, which focus on supporting students’ communication about their thinking and reasoning through multiple modalities (reading, writing, speaking, listening) and media. In its conclusion, SCALE found a strong connection between the practices of YCP and the recommendations for meeting the new standards, and concluded that its curricula and instruction program has great potential in making progress towards closing current performance gaps, building socially and emotionally competent students, and possibly change the trajectory of diverse students’ lives.

"We at the Latino Film Institute are immensely grateful for the state's support and recognition of the Youth Cinema Project. This funding is a crucial step in our ongoing efforts to provide equitable access to the arts and media education,” said Axel Caballero, Chief Executive Officer, Latino Film Institute “The challenges of the past few years, including the pandemic, have only strengthened our resolve to innovate and adapt. With this funding, we are excited to expand our reach, enhance our curriculum, and continue preparing the next generation of diverse, creative, and socially aware storytellers and leaders."

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit three years ago, YCP was in the process of expanding its program throughout the state. As an organization, YCP quickly pivoted to distance learning and used all its reserves, including PPP loans, to support its partnering school districts by providing the program at 50% of the cost, while keeping its entire staff fully employed. With the funding, YCP will be able to continue providing this impactful program to its students.

About Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo

Assemblywoman Carrillo was elected to serve in the State Assembly in December 2017. She represents the 52nd Assembly District, which includes East Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles, and South Glendale. She serves as the Chair of the Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration, in addition to the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Health, Housing and Community Development, Utilities and Energy, Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation, and the Joint Committees on Legislative Budget, and Climate Change Policies. She also serves as the Chair of the Select Committee on Latina Inequities, Vice Chair of the Legislative Progressive Caucus, Commissioner for the California Film Commission, Commissioner for the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, and Member of the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Board.

About the Latino Film Institute

The Latino Film Institute (LFI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating infrastructure for equity, diversity, and excellence for the Latino community in the entertainment industry. LFI houses signature initiatives such as: the Youth Cinema Project (YCP), the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), Latinx in Animation (LXiA), Latino Film Institute Scholar and LFI Spotlight Series.

For more information on LFI

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