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All female team from JECA competes at BexarFest

Rocking their bright pink Barbie-theme shirts that represent their sisterhood, JECA’s Amber Perales, Rachel Akouka, Mia Youngblood, Caroleena Mancilla, Alexa Hernandez, and Serenity Money sit together at the front of Mr. Marcus Martinez's classroom while KSAT reporter and JECA graduate Daniela Ibarra interviews them about their upcoming BexarFest submission.

The film festival “is a one-of-a-kind annual showcase & awards night celebrating philanthropy through multimedia in the SATX community.” Each year, high school media production students are paired with local nonprofit organizations to “create outreach materials for the nonprofit to use in its marketing.”

JECA was paired with Sheepdog Impact Assistance, which “provides charitable services benefiting the overall well-being of our nation’s Veterans and First Responders through physical activity, mental wellness, and volunteerism programs.”

“They focus on veterans who come back after their duty and help them get back on their feet,” Perales said. “Sometimes, they're closed off from society [when veterans come back]. So [Sheep Dog] helps them with different activities.”

The team connected with Sheepdog at the beginning of the school year. They met with the organization and began brainstorming ideas on how to market the organization and ultimately tell the organization’s story.

“We had three different shoots,” Hernandez said. “We wanted to focus on Max, one of the veterans, and just tell his story, go from his point of view, and showcase how the organization has helped him in his personal story.”

Between October and February, the team is doing a circular dance of recording, editing, and critiques by their faculty advisers, Mr. Marcus Martinez and Ms. Cyndi McCann. Then, going back to the client for suggestions, all outside their normal JECA academic responsibilities. It is a tedious dance, all in preparation to deliver a quality final product and compete with over 20 other teams across Bexar County.

“There was a lot of review,” Youngblood said. “Once we had gotten the stuff together, after going out and shooting, I put together the score. As we were producing the story that we wanted to tell, all of those things [that make up a film] were slowly developing independently. (Everything was slowly falling into place). We kind of had to decide how those narratives were going to combine and how they were going to stay matching, so they were not telling different stories.”

Everyone had a role to play: Perales was the President of this year’s team, Akouka was the Vice President and photographer, Youngblood was the composer of original music, Mancilla was a journalist and storyteller, Hernandez was the editor, and Money was a photographer. And as the only all-female team competing at this year’s BexarFest, it seemed like they had something bigger to prove.

“To be able to say that we are an all-female team is pretty cool, that all females created everything that was made for the portfolio,” Mancilla said.

The films have been shown to judges throughout the week of March 25. Awards will be presented to winners on April 1 at the Tobin Center at 7:00 p.m. The JECA students are also up for the People’s Choice Awards, which people can click here to vote.

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