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Pelham Film Program Helps Yonkers Students Find Voice, Vision

Thirteen sixth-graders at P.S. 17 in Yonkers are taking part in a new filmmaking program that was launched by The Picture House Regional Film Center.
Thirteen sixth-graders at P.S. 17 in Yonkers are taking part in a new filmmaking program that was launched by The Picture House Regional Film Center. Photo Credit: Contributed
Thirteen sixth-graders at P.S. 17 in Yonkers are taking part in a new filmmaking program that was launched by The Picture House Regional Film Center.
Thirteen sixth-graders at P.S. 17 in Yonkers are taking part in a new filmmaking program that was launched by The Picture House Regional Film Center. Photo Credit: Contributed
From left: Laura deBuys, TPH's executive director; Brian Hinchcliffe, benefactor, Yonkers P.S. 17 Principal Rita Moorhead and Francile Albright, TPH director of education.
From left: Laura deBuys, TPH's executive director; Brian Hinchcliffe, benefactor, Yonkers P.S. 17 Principal Rita Moorhead and Francile Albright, TPH director of education. Photo Credit: Contributed

PELHAM, N.Y. -- A baker’s dozen of sixth-graders have been learning the basics of filmmaking – and perhaps discovering their own voices and visions – thanks to a partnership between a Pelham arts organization and a Yonkers school.

The Picture House Regional Film Center said this week that it has been able to launch the innovative Voice & Vision program at P.S. 17 because of a generous donation by Meg and Brian Hinchcliffe and other supporters.

The 13 students participating in the eight-week-long program will create a film trailer and a short documentary.

In the spring, the entire sixth grade – approximately 75 students – will develop a “capstone film project in advance of their graduation,” the center said.

Principal Rita Moorhead said the school has had “zero funding” for arts programs.

This puts students at a disadvantage and hinders the school’s vision of providing them with “a strong educational foundation that maximizes their potential and advances their academic, emotional, and social growth,” Moorhead said.

The Picture House’s Voice & Vision program is, she said, “a wonderful and much-needed addition” to the school’s curriculum.

Moorhead expressed gratitude to the Hinchcliffes for their donation, adding that the program is an “exciting opportunity for our students.”

The Picture House hopes to raise enough money to be able to offer the program to more schools and community groups, said its president and executive director, Laura deBuys.

Only 50 percent of TPH’s funding comes from things such as ticket and concession stand sales.

“The rest depends on funding from foundations, corporations and philanthropic individuals like the Hinchcliffes,” deBuys said.

Donors shouldn’t feel that they have to make “a huge contribution to have impact – every single dollar helps,” she added.

TPH’s annual appeal, already underway, runs until the end of the year.

TPH’s education director, Francile Albright, said students are thrilled to be taking part in the program.

“On the first day, our 13 sixth-graders arrived completely out of breath! ‘Did you run? Why?’ I asked them. ‘Yes! We ran all the way – we are so excited for this class!’,” Albright said, adding: “Now that’s what a teacher loves to hear!””

For more information about TPH, click here.

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