This month’s Filmanthropy goes to support I Am Me by Filmmakers For Tomorrow. This documentary centers on the experiences of four inspirational young people, aged 15-21, who overcome physical and learning disabilities. Jamal has ADHD, DJ has cerebral palsy, McKenzie has albinism, and April has a rare skin condition called Ichthyosis. They’ve overcome bullying, depression, isolation, and self doubt but now have chosen to share their stories to help others.
The most obvious draw of I Am Me is the openness and honesty of the subjects. They each deal with disabilities that are not commonly portrayed in popular media or culture, so their representation in this film is very important. Jana, DJ, McKenzie, and April are starting a conversation and helping others gain a greater sense of empathy. Their bravery is empowering for other young people who may be dealing with the same issues. In addition, Filmmakers For Tomorrow is a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit which supports young aspiring filmmakers with educational and financial resources. I Am Me was created by youth in the program, led by the volunteer Filmmakers For Tomorrow staff mentors. Supporting their efforts supports the next generation.
I Am Me has important social impact potential, and will inspire the formation of new communities and help spread acceptance, particularly for young people. Throughout the film, there is a message of empowerment and loving yourself. This is a lesson which everyone should learn from, but is especially crucial for young people who are dealing with the challenges of growing older, gaining independence, and figuring out their identities.
A very natural campaign for this film would include call to action for viewers impacted by the film to share their own personal stories of struggle and triumph. This could be organized in person in classroom settings with a corresponding discussion guide or digitally through the launch of a social media campaign for viewers to share short videos on Twitter or Instagram under the umbrella of a hashtag. By creating platforms to continue the conversation about self-love, hopefully stigma will be replaced with understanding.
I Am Me is the fifth film from Filmmakers For Tomorrow. They have currently raised $2,250 of their $10,000 goal on Kickstarter! To support their work on I Am Me, be sure to donate before November 6th! Learn more about their past and present projects on their website, filmmakersfortomorrow.org.
By Shadi Garman: Social Media Coordinator
Shadi recently joined the Picture Motion team to support digital strategy efforts through social media. Shadi was born in Iran, raised near Seattle, and has happily lived in New York since 2014. Prior to working at Picture Motion, she has managed social media for a wide variety of organizations, from nonprofits to digital agencies. She has earned an International Affairs MA with a Media and Culture concentration from the New School, and a Human Services BA from Western Washington University. During both programs, she spent time working in South Africa. Shadi is also a freelance photographer.