Today, The Redford Center and Apple announced the launch of the second annual Redford Center Stories Challenge, a youth filmmaking initiative that empowers educators and students as changemakers in the environmental justice movement.
As youth worldwide activate intergenerational advocacy for environmental justice, the program aims to amplify the voices of tomorrow’s youth leaders and create a learning community at the nexus of transformational storytelling, social justice, and environmental action.
Last June, Apple announced its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative in the wake of protests around the world following the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others. The initiative builds on Apple’s work to advance racial equity in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system, and is led by Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson.
“Young people are leading the movement to create urgency around the need for environmental action,” said Lisa Jackson. “We are thrilled to partner with The Redford Center to lift young people’s voices and give them tools to create content that inspires real change and furthers justice around the world. For there is no justice without environmental justice.”
The 2021 Redford Center Stories Challenge utilizes storytelling, film, science, and social and environmental justice themes to empower learning in and out of the classroom, particularly for middle-school aged youth. The program provides educators with access to free, media-rich and cross-disciplinary curricula, then places students in the director’s seat and invites them to channel their insights into a final Apple Clips filmmaking challenge. In addition, educators and students are given a platform to share their ideas and inspirations in mini-challenges that develop student confidence and storytelling capacities throughout the school year.
The inaugural 2019-20 Redford Center Stories program hosted participants from 29 states, including more than 100 educators. This year, under Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, the focus is on the intersection of environmental, economic, and racial justice, highlighting the ways in which environmental solutions are human solutions.
Judges for the 2020-21 Redford Center StoriesChallenge include Apple’s Lisa Jackson, Robert Redford, Sibylle Szaggars Redford, Dylan Redford, co-founder of Future Coalition Katie Eder, filmmaker Faith Briggs, and YouTuber and Animal Planet host Coyote Peterson. Student achievement will be recognized across a variety of categories with a celebration on Earth Day 2021, accompanied by more than $10,000 in prize packages for teachers, students, and schools. Student prizes include an opportunity to make a short film with a professional filmmaker, youth-directed donations to student and educator-selected nonprofits, Apple gift cards, and more.
“The Redford Center has always believed that storytelling has a unique power to move people to action, and some of the most important work we do is supporting the next generation of storytellers who understand the urgency of the environmental crises we face and want to be part of the solution,” says Jill Tidman, Executive Director at The Redford Center. “Redford Center Stories is our way of empowering young people as creative agents of change to ignite a necessary, large-scale culture shift in support of a world in equitable balance, where human and planetary health and justice are fundamental values driving action.”
The Redford Center Stories curriculum complies with and uniquely integrates Common Core Standards (English, History, Math), Next Generation Science Standards, Social Justice Standards (Learning for Justice), Social-Emotional Learning Principles, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. All lessons include writing prompts and conversation ideas, narrative and digital storytelling analysis, critical and creative thinking, connections to existing classroom subject matter, research ideas, resources, extensions, and media, including original Redford Center films and Redford Center-supported films.
“This is an exciting and engaging project for students,” says Rachel Davis, an Apple Distinguished Educator and middle school teacher in the Bay Area. ” Students were delighted to take up the challenge of The Redford Center project which allowed them to dig deeper into environmental issues and communicate ideas through the creative use of Apple Technologies.”
Additional organizations working with Redford Center Stories this year include Apple Distinguished Educators, EarthXFilm, Teach for America, National Writing Project, California Film Institute, California Academy of Science, Climate Emergency Fund, Earth Day Network, NatureBridge, Project Green Schools, Children for Change, and Coral Reef Alliance.
For more information on Redford Center Stories and to enter a student film in the Redford Center Stories Challenge, visit Stories.RedfordCenter.org.