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Albany's award-winning Youth FX now has a home of its own

Youth FX new space

Check it out: Youth FX has a new home.

The award-winning program in Albany that helps young people build digital media skills -- and create some first-rate films -- has moved into a space of its own on Warren Street across from the Capital South Campus Center.

Here's a quick look around, and few bits about what's up with the always interesting program...

Quick photo tour

It's at the top in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Youth FX?

Quick background blurbage for Youth FX:

Youth FX is a hands-on program, based in the City of Albany, designed to empower young people ages 10-24 by teaching them the technical and creative aspects of digital film making and media production. Our primary goal is to work with diverse groups of young people from communities that have been historically under-served and in need of opportunities for training and engagement in emerging media technologies. Youth FX develops leadership, creativity, and critical thinking, through the collaborative process of digital film making and media production giving voice to the stories of young people in the capital region.

Young people in the program have turned out some very good short films, many of which have won awards. And alumni of the program are now starting to make a mark in the industry. Miles Joris-Peyrafitte and Madison Harrison, who were part of the program that became Youth FX, co-wrote the Sundance award-winning feature film As You Are -- which was also directed by Joris-Peyrafitte.

A few bits about what's in the works

The new home for Youth FX is in a building owned by the Albany Housing Authority that also houses the South End Children's Cafe. It includes a large multi-purpose space that was already equipped with lighting and multiple screens, a DJ/control booth, and a space in the back where the program was able to set up its multiple editing stations and store equipment.

"[Albany Housing Authority executive director] Steve Longo reached out to us and said, you know, we have the space we're looking at, it's for sale and we really want to purchase it and put it to community use," explained Youth FX program director Bhawin Suchak during a grand opening party Thursday. "And so as soon as I saw it, of course my eyes lit up and I said, my God, this place is like it's meant for Youth FX."

In recent years, Youth FX has operated out of space provided by the Albany Public Library. But its roots trace back to the Albany Free School, so the new home marks a return to the neighborhood.

"It's really a beautiful thing and I think it's also coming at a time when this neighborhood in the South End of Albany, real incredible community organization is happening," Suchak said. "We are really hoping to be part of that revitalization down here."

Youth FX is now in its 10th year, and Suchak said the program getting dedicated space of its own feels like a validation of all the work and effort that's gone into it so far. And they have big plans for what's next.

In February, Youth FX will be launching a "Power of 10" campaign to rally community support and raise $100,000 by the time of its first gala in November. Suchak said he hopes some of support will come from people in the film and television world who are interested in helping diverse storytelling and diverse filmmakers.

"We're building this pipeline from the ground up. So it's not only about, you know, trying to say 'Oscar so white' and address it from the top down but say, 'How are we cultivating young talent?' That's what we're really trying to do. We've had an incredible track record and incredible support in the community here. We want to build on that and actually allow some people that want to stay in the city of Albany and keep their talent here and grow with us."

Suchak said they're also planning events for the new space, including a film series this spring that will bring in filmmakers from underrepresented communities to show their work and discuss. Also in the works: a mentorship program for young documentary filmmakers to tell stories about their communities.

If you'd like to get involved or contribute, there's info on the Youth FX website about how to sign up for its mailing list -- as well as details about how to donate (Youth FX is a 501(c)(3) non-profit). And keep an eye for that "Power of 10" campaign in February.

Earlier: Hey there, Bhawin Suchak, YouthFX program director

Comments

Youth FX is an amazing group of young talent. Excellent they have a new home! And the building is being put to good use.

Nice time last night - great space and through connection to the South End Children's Cafe.

My ten year old is itching to get involved there after getting hooked through the sessions Youth FX ran through the APL!

Bhawin: Take pride in your accomplishment...ONLY 10 years! I've been with the same agency for 11 yrs & STILL can't find an after school program for my students!!! BRAVO!

awesome job guys!!! the place looks great! congratulations

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