Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Foster Alumna Changing the World Through Film

I recently returned from the FCAA Summit in Seattle, Washington. Sometimes in my life, as a former foster child, I have felt alone. At this summit, I met some amazing people.

Over my next series of blog entries, I plan to share some of their stories, and to explain more about the foster care movement that is taking place. At the FCAA summit, when one alumna was asked, "Why are you here?" she answered, "I'm here for the movement!"

Just as the civil rights movement and women's liberation movement changed American history, when foster care alumni connect, our goal is to transform the world.

Here's how Sasha Isaac-Young is using her gifts and talents to give foster children a voice...

Sasha Isaac-Young graduated USC with an MFA in Film Production. Prior to that, she attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned a BFA in Printmaking and a BA in Acting.

I was able to spend time with Sasha during the conference, and we found out that we had a surprising amount of life experiences in common. We've decided to collaborate and share ideas about how to convey the vulnerability and confusion experienced by females coming of age within the foster care system.

I watched two of Sasha's films, a documentary and a fiction film.

Foster Stories
"Foster Stories"is a short documentary Sasha made while still in school. It won best short documentary at the Urbanwide film festival in New York. It opens up with the premise that, "I can't tell you what it's like to live in foster care, but I can tell you stories."

This documentary aired on PBS. After it was shown locally, a viewer commented, This is the kind of documentary that should be shown nationally, on public television as well as all kinds of venues, it is so important.

As far as I know, there has never been any kind of documentary study on this subject, and with the touch of a filmmaker who clearly knows the ins, outs, ups and downs of the system.

This becomes a true masterpiece that could easily become an educational classic, and a work that should be seen by as many people as possible. I can only hope that the filmmaker could get feedback and support enough to allow them to expand it into a feature film; at the least, PBS should add this to it's national broadcasting, so the rest of America can join in the discussion.

To see a portion of "Foster Stories," please visit:

Little Valerie
While at USC Sasha directed a second thesis project, a fictional work titled “Little Valerie.”
In this short film, a young girl vys for the attention of the boy who lures her away from her institutional home. Sasha storyboarded the film masterfully, it is the essence of "show, don't tell."

I told Sasha, that I would like to show the film to my husband, but that I know that after I do so, he will start calling me, "Little Valerie."

Full-Length Documentary
Sasha's next step will be a feature film, a full-length documentary examining the American foster care system from the foster children's perspective.

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May Allah smile upon your good deeds for children.
What the....
I have to see Sasha's documentary now. I'm not sure how much of my blog you've read or if I've ever mentioned it, but I'm writing a memoir and am now in the process of killing the first draft with all my revisions and fleshing and padding - a large focus, of course, will be my life in 7 foster homes from 13 to 18. Your description of her documentary reminded me of my first period at my second foster home. It was important to me that my change to womanhood be celebrated; never did I think it would be overlooked. It was disappointing and affected me more than I realized for the next 5 years.

I'm so glad you wrote to me! When things like your site, the FCAA, come to my attention just when I want to get my ball rolling on my book - it's serendipity, I tell you. Inspiration stuck in my ear, just where I need it.

Any groups in Maryland that you know of?
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