• Producers • Apprentices • Alumni •
Spark has had the privilege to work with extremely talented individuals who came to us as students. We are proud to count many former students among our ranks of apprentice producers (through Forge), teaching artists, and staff people. Many of our students go on to pursue professional film-making careers. We are so proud of you all!
To learn more about hiring our talented young people for your project, head over to Forge Media. You can also check out our youth producer portfolios page, a tool we created to assist our apprentices and youth producers in pursuing careers in the field of Media Arts!
To make an additional impact, visit our donation page to see what youth are saying about the value of Spark in their lives (and, if you so choose, help us with a donation) – thank you!
Click the picture below to check out our youth producer portfolios page, a tool we created to assist our apprentices and youth producers in pursuing careers in the field of Media Arts! Keep Scrolling to learn more about our youth producers!
Since an early age, Sade was into television and film. While most of her friends where outside playing, she would be inside watching a good movie and nurturing her imagination. At a young age, she began learning different camera shots and angles and finding certain things in a show that most people wouldn’t, so when it came time to find out what she wanted to pursue in life, the choice wasn’t far away. “Being a part of Spark is awesome,” Sade attests. “This is a great place to be!” Working with Spark’s Media Magic and DROP TV for over a year now, Sade has improved her skills and plans to attend college to earn a degree in film-making. “I want to make movies that when people see the trailer, they’ll immediately want to go see it. That’s what movie making is all about.”
A Poughkeepsie High School graduate and film aficionado, Alex Edwards—known by Al to family, friends, but as “Al, the editor,” to colleagues—has been honing his filmmaking skills with the Children’s Media Project for nearly two years now. Al can edit just about anything, from music to videos. With plans to pursue a communications and media arts degree from Dutchess Community College beginning in Spring, 2014, Al spends his free time learning computer coding and nurturing his dream of becoming a future Olympian archer; he also loves to read and practice martial arts. He’s always looking for something to pique his interest and is up for any challenge. Al’s motto: “Come on—give me a challenge!”
Alexander Haynes started working with Children’s Media Project six years ago with Radio Uprising, Spark’s hard-hitting, youth-produced radio series, and with the organization’s other after-school programs. Since then, Alex has discovered both a love of and an innate talent for video production. Over the years, he’s been involved in the writing and editing of DropTV and has taken on a lead role on several of the show’s projects. Recently, Alex began working for Spark’s production house, filming and editing work on professional shoots for commercials and interviews. “I’m just as comfortable working behind the camera doing the actual ‘filming’, as well as up front acting, or at the computer editing it all together,” Alex reports. Additionally, in the spring of 2013, Alex began serving as a assistant teacher for a film class at the Poughkeepsie Day School. Alex was home-schooled for most of his life but is currently taking a correspondence course for high school. Alex has always had an interest in films and filmmaking since he was young, and is hoping to go to college for Filmmaking in the near future. Eventually working towards a career in filmmaking. Alex enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and occasionally horseback riding. He also enjoys acting, and participates in an Improve group to hone his acting and burgeoning Shakespearean skills. “All the world’s a stage!”
Tyler has been with Spark since the summer of 2011, when he applied for DROP TV. Not knowing what to expect from the program, he was at first hesitant to apply; but, after that summer, he immediately knew that he would re-apply the following summer. He began doing Media Magic in the spring of 2013, and is now attending the fall session also. Tyler has learned a lot from his time at Spark, including advanced editing skills, knowledge of camera techniques, and leadership skills.
As a Spark student, Jack Palmiotti has been involved in a cadre of organizational program offerings including Radio Uprising and DROP TV. Recently, he’s parlayed his interest in film production into work on several Spark-produced videos, including commercials for All Sport Fitness, Bella Bellies, an informational piece on Poughkeepsie’s Fall Creek River, and a video interview with artist John Greene—projects that have afforded him the opportunity to hone his skills in film production and video editing. He’s specific roles have included camera work, interviewing, and post-production. “I love the process,” Jack exclaims, recounting with gusto the details of each of his portfolio pieces. When not working with media, he enjoys skateboarding, watching movies, and creating YouTube videos.
Louise Bartolotta is a junior film major at SUNY Purchase college. Last year, her freshman thesis film, Paper Doll, was featured in the Mosaic World Film Festival in Chicago. This year, she’s focusing on her documentary and cinematography skills and she hopes to one day work as an editor or a director of photography!
Cinematography student and Spark alumni, Brian Beckwith, graduated from Columbia College, Chicago, and currently works as a freelance director,editor, and photographer. Brian credits Spark with giving him the head start and knowledge of film he needed to secure a scholarship.
Originally from Beacon, NY, Nate became a student at Spark after moving to Poughkeepsie in Fall 2002. Beginning as a student of the Graphic Design class, Nate participated in the premiere season of DropTV, and came back to Spark through the years as a volunteer and teaching assistant for numerous programs. In 2007, Nate joined the United States Army, working in Logistics Support in both domestic and overseas operations. Nate left the Army in 2009, however, in protest of many of the military’s exclusionary practices, and spent a number of years involved in community activism. His travels at home and abroad provide him with a unique perspective as an artist, which he hopes to implement to further our mission. In addition to his work at Spark, Nate spends his spare time volunteering for nonprofit organizations that focus on animal welfare and adoption, participating in spoken word, and playing with his kittens (Orion, Meeko, & Fynn).
Les Fabian Brathwaite
After a brief pit stop at NYU and several office jobs (including a few glorious years as Spark’s office manager), Les Fabian Brathwaite eventually segued into the glamorous world of online media. He’s currently the Assistant Editor of the LGBT news/pop culture site Queerty.com and also shticks it around town as a freelancer.
Nick is finishing up his B.A. after studying film history and art history at Bard College. Last summer he was given a grant to perform research in the film archives in Madrid, Spain in order to work on his Senior Thesis. Nick credits Spark with furthering his passionate interest in the study of the cinematic form.
Poughkeepsie native and graduate (class of 2011…yeah!), Nathaniel Jackson, is pursuing a degree from Dutchess Community College. There, he’s developed an interest in music and hoping to pursue a career in music production. Per Nate: “Thank you, Spark, for the amazing work that you do!”
Children’s Media Project alumni Nicholas Jackson is currently studying communications and media arts at Dutchess community college, and ultimately plans on continuing college at a film school in New York city. He’s in the process of starting his own media company–We Are Reality Productions (W.A.R.). His passion other then film is dancing, and he’s currently a member of the local dance group, Circusfreaks. Work Samples
I attended the various programs Children’s Media Project had to offer when I was a teenager. That experience prepared me for the media related classes I took in college. Spark really installed a passion for media in me and got me ready to write the screenplays, direct the documentaries, and produce the films I have made. I am currently attending Purchase College and next year I’ll be graduating with a B.A. in Playwriting and Screenwriting. But I will always remember, it all started with Spark!
While at Spark in the early 2000s, Eileen Kennedy discovered a love for film and the creative, a passion she further nurtured at the Film Conservatory, SUNY Purchase. Following graduation in 2006, Eileen edited and produced her way to Vice, an international magazine focused on arts, culture, and news topics, where she works on a variety of short form web documentary content, ranging culture pieces to important news stories. She also recently completed work on a four-screen installation film for director Meredith Danluck called “North of South, West of East” that was selected for the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2013.
Isis entered the Children’s Media Project summer program in 2000 preceding her senior year of high school. Spark afforded Isis with her first opportunity to participate in several creative projects, as well as the opportunity to engage in public speaking events. After realizing that art was a productive outlet for her, she pursued an arts education, first through classes at Arlington High School, then by furthering her education at SUNY Dutchess, and later the School of Visual Arts. In 2011, Isis started her own fine art brand and company, called Hip Hop Fine Art, which pursues many of the same goals as Spark. She strives to encourage and connect with young budding artist and supply them with the support system needed to believe in their freedom of expression called art.
Spark alumni Raeva Kumar, is currently studying Physics and Chinese as a freshman at Princeton University. She is an avid news junkie and devoted follower of the arts. She credits Spark for opening her eyes to the importance of finding and having a voice, and for demonstrating the indisputable strength of the written word.
Alumni Rosario (Russ) Pellerito attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), graduating in 2007 with a degree in Film/TV Production. He currently lives in Broooklyn, where he works as a freelance filmmaker and writer, along with an Associate Web Producer with CBS’s INSIDE EDITION.
Jaime Ransome is a Spark alumni and a Syracuse University film student, currently in her junior year. After graduating she plans on going to graduate school at school at NYU and then moving out to LA to become a producer. Last year, Jaime co-directed the short-film, Alone.
Film-editor extraordinaire, Philip Rivera, has been volunteering with the Children’s Media Project for five years, and, prior to that, was a participant in Spark programing. A Beacon resident and graduate of Beacon High School, Phil studied film production from Dutchess County BOCES. Phil says he loves working with Spark and the camaraderie he shares with the staff and other interns, volunteers, and educators. “I especially like helping others work with cameras and sound,” he reports. In his free time, Phil hones his Photoshop and graphic design skills and watches movies (he’s a big-time movie fan!); he also writes reviews on his favorite genres—horror, superhero, and sci-fi.
Upon entering Children’s Media Project while in the 10th grade, Shaquille Scott found his passion for filming. Soon after he gained mastery of several film-editing programs and went on to study communications and media arts at Dutchess Community College. Shaquille dreams of becoming become a movie editor or floor manger. But for now he’s working on being an up-and-coming YouTube star. Work Samples
Ryan started working with Spark as a youth producer in 1999. He worked as a youth apprentice on the first DROP TV season. He gradually moved up the ranks from student to mentor and has been working as a media educator and producer since his graduation in 2003. Ryan has vast experience mentoring youth in media production, teaching animation workshops, developing curriculum, training new teachers, and hosting screening events. Ryan is also Forge Media’s lead producer, and a master of graphics and illustration, having designed award-winning graphics, including a billboard for the Dutchess County Health Department. His professional production work includes commercials and public service announcements for Ballet Arts, Guardian Storage, Community Action, Mill Street Loft, and All Sport Health & Fitness, among others; as well as his own creative short narrative works.