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LA high schoolers create short film scenes at ASU California Center thanks to partnership with Firework Foundation

Students learn about lighting, sound, editing — and get a red-carpet screening

A high schooler sitting at a computer desk grins at someone off camera

Los Angeles high schoolers learn about film creation with experts from ASU’s Sidney Poitier New American Film School on Feb. 10 at the ASU California Center Broadway. Photo by Sabira Madady

February 16, 2024

Over two Saturdays in February, 18 Los Angeles-area high school students created short film scenes alongside faculty from Arizona State University’s Sidney Poitier New American Film School and California College of ASU in partnership with the nonprofit Firework Foundation.

The opportunity was ASU’s second with the Firework Foundation, founded in 2014 by performer Katy Perry and her sister, Angela Lerche, to connect middle and high school students from underserved communities to the arts. A 2023 event paired foundation participants with experts at ASU FIDM for fashion workshops.

At the most recent events, the students created and edited scenes at the ASU California Center Broadway, working with experts to gain exposure to everything from lighting and sound to acting and editing. They ended the experience with a red-carpet screening of their scenes for the whole group.

A high schooler wearing headphones edits video on a monitor
A high schooler edits scenes on Feb. 10 that were shot the previous week at the ASU California Center. Photo by Sabira Madady

Lerche, who serves as executive director of the foundation, said the organization thrives on partnerships that further the mission to connect kids to the arts, particularly in an age of reduced arts education in schools. They host two weekend sleepaway camps in California each year, as well as workshops like the ones with ASU. Young participants transform and grow through these inspiring connections.

“It just opens them to the possibility that they can follow their passion,” Lerche said.

That mission is a perfect match with the beliefs engrained in ASU’s own charter to extend opportunities to the widest possible array of prospective students, said California-based ASU Dean of Students Stacey Freeman, who helped organize the visit. ASU values the chance to show students from underserved communities how accessible higher education can be.

“Giving back to the community and teaching young people about career opportunities they may never have considered is so valuable for their long-term success,” Freeman said.

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