Sunday Morning Film Series Bios

Meet The Young Filmmakers

Sarah Alli (Age 14)

Sarah is a freshman at the Academy for Careers in Television and Film, and lives with her mother and grandmother in Jamaica, Queens.

Her first experience with video was in the 8th grade when her class wrote and shot a talk show based on Shakespeare's "Cymbeline." Since then, she has had a love for making films and an increasing interest in pursuing a career in the film industry.

Sarah's film is about something she sees as an essential part of her childhood - summer camp. Her mother, who works in real estate, is cutting back on anything that isn't a basic necessity, including camp.

In addition to the documentary about summer camp, Sarah wrote and produced another documentary about her experiences learning how to cook this year, and is currently working on a short fictional piece about a hit man.

Rana Ayhan (Age 17)

"I am a first-generation American," says Rana, a senior at Francis Lewis High School in Queens and a 2009 Tribeca Film Fellow.

"I think it is extremely important to stick to my roots while learning and growing as a person, and not succumbing to mainstream culture and media, which are all huge motivations for my artistic endeavors."

Rana's film is about the all-American teenage rite of passage - prom. She'd like to go, but she can't justify the cost. Now, she's on a mission to keep the expenses and her nerves under control.

She will be heading on to Fordham University.

Derek Garcia (Age 17)

A Brooklyn resident and 2009 Tribeca Film Fellow, Derek has made films for Brooklyn Cable Access Television. "This is something I definitely want to do for the rest of my life. I am always thinking of how to shoot a situation and find film in everything I do."

Derek's film looks at the struggles of paying for college. While many universities have increased tuition, most schools can no longer afford to offer as much financial aid. At the same time, many families aren't qualifying for assistance and can't afford to take loans. The combination is leaving America's middle class truly caught in the middle.

This fall Derek will be a freshman at Purchase College, State University of New York.

Lenaisha Small (Age 12)

Lenaisha Small is a student at the Bronx Preparatory School.

"My favorite pastime is talking," says Lenaisha, whose film focuses on what's she's learned about the recession. In November, her mother was laid off from her job at a nursing home. The family went on government assistance but still couldn't afford their rent, so they moved in with their Aunt Louise.

"I enjoy anything as long as it becomes fun," she said.

"My mom is from Brooklyn and my dad is from Barbados. Unfortunately, they are now divorced."

When she grows up she would like to be a litigator.

Ky Oeasha Thomas (Age 17)

Ky, a 2009 Tribeca Film Fellow, is a senior at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics. She describes herself as "a pillar of determination, hope, education, questions, truths, opinions, and ideas. I want to live and learn as much as I can, because an artist can see beauty in any picture."

Her film is about her after-school job at a supermarket cashier, a duty she took on when her dad lost his job. She works not to pay for luxuries but to help support her family. Her typical day starts at six in the morning and doesn't end until about 2am the next day when she finishes her homework.

She will be heading to college at the University of Albany.

Film Programs

Created in downtown New York in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy, the Tribeca Film Institute was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff to educate, entertain and inspire filmmakers and film lovers alike.

Beginning in 2005, the Institute broadened its reach to include Tribeca Youth Programs for New York City students with an interest in cinema, offering the opportunity for them to learn more about film and about how to use film to think about their own lives, stories, communities and careers.

The Programs include the Tribeca Film Fellows (in which 20 N.Y.C. high school students are given a unique behind-the-scenes look at filmmaking); Tribeca Teaches: Films in Motion brings independent filmmakers to city schools; the Summer Arts Institute Filmmaking Workshop (produced in partnership with the NYC Department of Education), an intensive, tuition-free, 6-week filmmaking course; Our City, My Story showcases student media during the annual Tribeca Film Festival; and the Tribeca Youth Screening Series, offering free screenings to thousands of students.

The Academy for Careers in Television and Film is a New York City public high school dedicated to preparing students for careers in television and film production. Courses at the school and internships are tailored to students' career aspirations, and this intensive career preparation is complemented by film studies and rigorous college preparatory curricula. In its unique mission, ambitious scope, and innovative design, the Academy is widely seen as a powerful example of the promise inherent in partnerships between industry and public education.

Located in Long Island City, Queens, the Academy opened its doors in September 2008 and works closely with a wide range of industry partners to provide students from the city's diverse communities with hands-on training in all aspects of production. Guest instructors include some of New York's most accomplished professionals. Students also regularly visit and attend workshops at a wide range of production facilities.

For more info:

  • Youth Programs at Tribeca Film Institute
  • Academy for Careers in Television and Film
  • Bronx Preparatory Charter School
  • Reel Works Teen Filmmaking
  • Scenarios USA