Youth Education Program (YEP)


The purpose of SIFF’s Youth Education Program (YEP) is to offer academic and cultural enrichment opportunities as well as vocational development for students in the Sonoma Valley.  Despite its reputation as a wealthy enclave, the Sonoma Valley has diverse socioeconomic and ethnic groups, many of whom who lack access to participate in the arts, exposure to cultural enrichment, and vocational training.  In 2002, SIFF responded to the dearth of artistically significant programs in the valley by creating and partially funding the Media Arts Program (MAP) at Sonoma Valley High School.  Since that time, SIFF has directed over $400,000 into MAP as well as invested $200,000 into youth education in Sonoma.

SIFF’s Youth Education Program has three goals:
  1. Serve the youth of the Sonoma Valley through providing opportunities to interact with art and artists in socially, economically, culturally, and academically meaningful ways.
  2. Fund programs that provide socioeconomically disadvantaged middle and high school students with opportunities to conceive, create and view art, especially film, as a medium for social change.
  3. Support emerging young filmmakers through the “Student Showcase” during the annual film festival.

The Sonoma Valley Film Society is committed to supporting the arts in youth education in the Sonoma Valley through our YEP program in the following ways:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley Middle School Program:

SIFF administrates the funding and staffing for free video workshops for middle school students. Held at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley, the three-day workshop guides students through the process of making Public Service Announcements using live action and/or puppeteer platforms.  Students research and identify a social issue, then produce a short PSA to be screened at the annual film festival in April.  Subjects include bullying, environmental awareness, global issues, and violence.  This program prepares students for the high school media arts program. More...

Sonoma Valley High School Media Arts Programs (SVHSMAP):

Created by SIFF in 2002, the MAP serves over 150 students per year.  The instructor, Peter Hanson, is a dedicated and passionate teacher.  Hanson has developed the program into a multi-faceted, comprehensive exploration of all aspects of media, including cross-curricular collaboration, information literacy, and vocational training. SIFF supplements the instructor’s salary as well as provides equipment and support.  Each year during the film festival, SIFF holds a student showcase event which features screenings of student films to packed audiences.  The SVHSMAP is a valued community resource SIFF is proud to support.
  • Non-profit Engagement: provides local nonprofit organizations with high quality media productions, broadcast of events, and technical support while allowing students to learn the art of production, client interaction, community needs, and paid externships.
  • “La Voz Latino”: weekly broadcast for the school and community produced entirely in Spanish.  Content includes news, school updates, testing information for both parents and students.
  • Educational Hour for local Cable Access (Ch. 27): Produces weekly television show “SVHS Dragon News” highlighting stories, including teacher spotlight, events and sports.
  • After School Media Lab: Open Lab workshops, Film Club, Film Nights.
  • “Student Works” Film Festival Production: For several months, students in the MAP program commit to the entire filmmaking process, including conception, production, budgeting, marketing, trailers, posters, website and finally, premiering to a large audience, students create high quality short films.  
  • Vocational Training: Valuable technical career skills are taught through the program, including sound editing, camera work, marketing, business plan development, production, script writing, and graphic design.
  • More...

“Student Showcase”:

As part of SIFF”s commitment to youth education, we highlight student films during the spring film festival. This event features the work of students from both the middle school and high school level.  Middle school students premiere their PSAs from the Boys and Girls Club workshop; high school students show their short films produced at the SVHSMAP program.  Students are given access to professional filmmakers and festival audiences. The event is held at a 325 seat theater and well attended at capacity by community and festival participants. More...

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