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Meet the Former Foster Youth Who Founded a Film Festival to Help Youth Tell Their Stories (


Growing up in foster care in Los Angeles, Johna Rivers didn't always get the opportunity to express her creativity.

Once she got older, Rivers wanted to offer something for kids like her. So she founded a film festival to tell their stories.

Now 24, Rivers is the founder and executive producer of the three-year-old Real to Reel Global Film Festival. It began in October 2015 as a way to showcase films produced by youth ages 14 to 23 that shine a light on social issues. The film festival is put on thanks to the support of Better Youth, a creative development agency for urban youth that provides mentoring and technical skills through media arts training.

Rivers is spoken-word artist who has performed across Los Angeles County. Through her work with the United Nations Foundation and the Spirit Awakening Foundation, she has had the opportunity to work and perform in Africa and Brazil.

How can youth today watch these films and get inspired?

Youth can get inspired by going to the Real to Reel Global Youth Film Festival and seeing films that have already been submitted and be inspired by watching those, or you can show up this Saturday at the Los Angeles Film School and have a chance to network with other people from the industry.

This year we have the whole platform dedicated to foster kids who created, produced, and directed their own films. It is important that youth see them in action, doing what they love to do and being a part of the atmosphere that day.

To read more of Sunshine Decosta's article, please click here.

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