Better Youth a creative youth development agency for urban youth ages 14-23, celebrates foster and former foster youth filmmakers for their achievements in media arts.

LOS ANGELES, CA, December 11, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — Syd Stewart, Founder & Executive Director of Better Youth hosted an award and private screening honoring foster and former foster youth filmmakers to recognize their achievements in media arts. The event highlighted the unique educational and training program where foster and former foster youth are trained in filmmaking, creative writing, editing, lighting, and sound design.

This year’s Real To Reel Survive and Rise Award honorees included Johna Rivers (Best Executive Director of “Who Knew”), Autumn Taylor (Best Director of “Perception vs. Reality”), Jack Marder (Best Filmmaker of “Stationary Bike”), Deitrick Foley (Best Producer), Latrice Ventura (Best Producer of “Survive and Rise”), Malik Bell (Best Producer), Dery Galeano (Best Project Manager), Kaija Johnson (Most Dedicated), Sunny Love (Best Music Video “Steady Focused”), Brianna Henriquez (Best Filmmaker), Naomi Manning (Best Mentor Better Youth, Inc), John Dumbacher (Best Mentor Better Youth, Inc), AT&T (Best Sponsor Better Youth, Inc), Adobe (Best Sponsor Better Youth, Inc), The Rightway Foundation (Best Sponsor Better Youth, Inc) and Los Angeles Film School (Best Sponsor Better Youth, Inc).

Better Youth’s mission is to validate young people by developing life skills through mentoring and media arts training. Their vision is to activate a community of vulnerable youth who are equipped for personal, academic, and career pathways.

This event is a unique educational and training culmination for Foster and Former Youth filmmakers of our flagship training program Better Crew, a professional development certificated program where youth are trained on media arts curriculum including filmmaking, creative writing, editing, lighting, and sound design. Program youth are exposed to both digital and social literacies. The goal is to express the personal narrative by creating a short film reflective of individual perspective and experience. Program youth receive specialized certification of 21stcentury and technical skills useful for the marketplace and higher learning; some of the youth films were shot exclusively on iPhone. Facilitating and industry mentors support training, successful matriculation, and completion. Instructional design ecosystems, learning validation and certification via Adobe, Google, LinkedIn, and are all administered training and resources as well. Better Crew inherently has an exhibition component platform, Real To Reel Global Youth Film Festival, which is a youth-produced linked learning project and culminating graduation. The program targets youth ages 14-23, with an emphasis on foster and homeless youth.

Among the award presenters for this year’s event included Rahvaunia (actress ABC’s “For The People”), Janeshia Adams Ginyard (Stunt Woman “Black Panther”), Amy J. Aniobi (Co-Executive Producer “HBO’s Insecure”), Cierra Brooks (actress T.I.’s new BET series “The Grand Hustle), Brian Vickers (Disney’s Music Supervisor), Naomi M. Manning (Warner Bros. Marketing Exec.), Angela McCrae & April Mabry (Director & Writer “Where Is Beauty”), Noel Pallais (AT&T Rep.), Melvin Jackson JR. (BET’s The New Edition Story/Emmy Nominated Actor “This Eddie Murphy Role is Mine, Not Yours”), Kathy Jura (Director of Foster Youth Initiative at PBS SOCAL), and Frank Barwah (Co-Executive Producer of Eminem’s feature “Bodied”).

This year’s premier program sponsors included AT&T, PBS, Adobe, Final Draft, The Los Angeles Film School, and The Rightway Foundation. For more information about Better Youth, visit

Related Links:
Better Youth Collaboration | AT&T Aspire –
Better Youth Annual Event | Real To Real Global Youth Film Festival –

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Sponsorship opportunities for this year-round event are available. Please contact Syd Stewart, Founder/Executive Director at [email protected]

For press and media inquiries, please contact public relations representative, Deborah Griffin at [email protected]

About The Better Youth Organization
Better Youth is a creative youth development agency for urban youth ages 14-23. Their mission is to transform young people by validating technical skills through media arts training and mentoring. The youth who participate in the program face challenges such as incarceration, gang violence, and abuse. Better Youth is committed to developing urban youth by bridging the digital and diversity divide by fostering life skills, character development, creativity, a desire for leadership, advocacy and civic engagement. The goal is to positively impact a constituency of youth who grow up in impoverished homes and to create a trajectory for personal and professional success.

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