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Make A Film Foundation brings visions to reality for terminal youth

Juliana D. Norwood | 1/30/2013, 5 p.m.

The Make A Film Foundation provides an opportunity for young people diagnosed with critical or terminal illness to use the media as a powerful tool for self-expression and communication by creating 5-minute film legacies. Pairing participants with noted directors, writers, actors and producer mentors, Make A Film Foundation provides them with the tools, resources and guidance to reclaim the media and give them a voice.

The Make A Film Foundation is a vision inspired by Inner City Filmmakers and The Make A Wish Foundation, two organizations that continue to uplift, motivate and create.

"Young people facing illness and long-term hospitalization naturally feel marginalized from the world," said Executive Director Tamika Lamison. "Many spend vast amounts of time watching television, experiencing realities they may never share. Make a Film Foundation provides these young people an opportunity to reclaim the media as a tool for creative expression and personal empowerment. At Make a Film Foundation we believe that creativity and self-expression are innately therapeutic," she said.

Make a Film Foundation uses top quality film, digital and HD equipment as needed for each short. The organization solicits in-kind donations in the form of sound stages, equipment, services and supplies from companies including Kodak, Panavision, Panasonic, Final Draft and targeted studios and/or production companies. Computers and software come from other resource organizations such as the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, Apple, IBM, and other PC manufacturers.

"For a critically ill child or teen, in all reality the best we can do is help them discover a sense of meaning or purpose," said Lamison. "Make A Film Foundation will help young people facing illness use their dreams and imagination to explore and give voice to answers that no one else can offer. Make A Film Foundation demonstrates that within every young person, no matter how ill, there is power; power to create beauty and meaning out of seemingly senseless situations, to speak with a strong voice, and most importantly to grasp the dream of a bright future and always keep it insight as their journey unfolds," Lamison said.

The Make A Film Foundation has been fortunate enough to secure successful individuals in the TV/film industry as board member for the organization. Isaiah Washington ("Grey's Anatomy") and Elijah Wood ("Lord of the Rings") are just two of the lead acting mentors. The Foundation also has mentors from the areas of writing and directing. Actor/producer/director Hill Harper also sits on the board of directors.

In order to create these legacy short films, the Make A Film Foundation relies on funding and support from the community to bring these projects to fruition. Some of the nonprofit's specific measurable objectives are outlined as:
* Raise $100,000.00 to create up to five short films each year, inspired by kids diagnosed with critical or terminal diseases and co-created with the entertainment community.
* Have a gala benefit screening for each film.
* Raise at least $50,000.00 each year to give back to charity.
* Create a DVD collection of the films to sell for charity.

"Our goal is to ensure that we will be able to fulfill the particulars of each participant's vision," said Lamison. "Your generosity can make that happen. To help ensure that their film is a success, give with your heart. Any amount is welcomed and it is greatly appreciated."

For more information on the organization and how to donate, visit the Foundation's website at www.makeaflimfoundation.org.