Street Sense filmmakers sit in a DCTV classroom
File photo

Ten members of Street Sense’s Filmmakers Cooperative have begun film classes with local station DCTV following a successful campaign that raised well over $6,000 to provide a learning experience for homeless filmmakers.

The twice-weekly classes began Jan. 10 and will last for 10 weeks, culminating in the completion of three DCTV certifications in producing, videography and Adobe Premier editing for the co-op members. The co-op, which was founded in 2014 by D.C. filmmaker Bryan Bello, provides a platform for men and women who are or who have been homeless to not simply be on camera, but to have control of that camera. Since its founding, members of the co-op have produced five participatory documentaries about the reality of homelessness in the District.

DCTV’s partnership includes the opportunity to produce public service announcements and mini-documentaries that may air on television. The program is customized to meet the individual needs of the Street Sense artists, and will serve to aid the filmmakers in recording previously untold stories of homelessness in the city.

Sasha Williams, one member of the co-op enrolled in the DCTV program, filmed one of the co-op’s previous documentaries and finds videography to be a powerful method for sharing her experiences.

“Creating my documentary really was life changing,” Williams said of “Raise to Rise,” a film about her and her young daughter’s journey from D.C. General to their own home. “It took courage to show everything so raw, to put my personal experience up on the big screen.”

Williams hopes the skills she learns in the program with DCTV will help her go on to make films about the most important aspects of her life.

“I definitely want to do different projects and be able to work with people. I definitely want to stay active and do more,” she said. “Probably my next documentary will be about me having another child … I think something about that or something about my medical condition or something that speaks volumes in my life and something I can show on a different level, I’d be excited to do that.”

Video by the Street Sense Filmmakers Co-op