How the Art of Filmmaking Became a Force for Good
—and a Girl Scouts merit badge, along the way.
Jessica Kizorek just had a sudden epiphany. On the day she realized what she wanted to do for the rest of her life, she was already a successful filmmaker who had traveled the world. As President of Two Parrots Productions, she’d built a pioneering company that produced visual storytelling for top global brands. But on this day, while at a networking event at the Center for Social Change in Miami, she was asked by Bill Burdette, President of Charity Services Center and CEO of Impact Deposits Corporation, to envision her dream job. She surprised herself by replying that she wanted to teach kids living in underserved communities how to use filmmaking as an agent of social change. Burdette was so impressed that he made a seed grant through Impact Deposits to help Kizorek achieve her vision. Thus was born Eyes on Your Mission, a Miami-based 501c3 that apprentices students from Miami Northwestern Senior High School to a digital media studies professor at Florida International University, to make videos for local non-profits.
Ever the entrepreneur, Kizorek realized the hands-on experience that resulted from this partnership in the Miami area could be turned into an online curriculum to serve kids nationwide, and Filmmaking for Good was born. This web-based teaching tool targets teachers specializing in media and communications and allows them to track the progress of their students as they move through the ascending levels of the online filmmaking curriculum. And this is where the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSA) enter the story.
Reacting quickly to address the Covid-19 pandemic, the GSA turned their established plans for a 2020 summer camp jamboree into a Virtual Camp Marketplace. This online portal allowed Girl Scout Councils all over the country to connect with programming that would enrich the lives of scouts while in isolation. Gabrielle Stieglitz of the Miami-based Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida Council worked with Kizorek and Filmmaking for Good to quickly develop two introductory filmmaking modules geared to Girl Scout Juniors ages 6 through 8, and Cadets ages 9 to 13. Scouts from Florida, Massachusetts, Los Angeles, and Chicago spent 90 minutes a day for a full week working the modules with their Scout leaders, then another week to produce their short films. The girls came up with their own topics to focus their films on, choosing ones of intense interest to them all—from COVID to the deforestation of the Everglades to how to care for their neighborhood’s homeless cats.
“Impact Deposits Corporation was instrumental in our early development, as well as later while helping us organize as an official 501c3 nonprofit,” Kizorek relates. “Without Impact Deposits, we wouldn’t have had the funds to finish our LMS or deliver the Filmmaking for Good program with the full support the Girl Scouts needed. Thanks, Impact Deposits!”
At the end of the Girl Scouts’ fun filmmaking program, twenty-two scouts had earned badges in digital photography or digital moviemaking. “It was an awesome experience!” Steiglitz says, “Jessica and her team were fantastic, working to ensure all the girls had access to the curriculum from their homes and were so committed to helping them learn virtually. It was an epic, epic week!”
Visit the Filmmaking for Good website.
“Impact Deposits Corporation was instrumental in our early development, as well as later while helping us organize as an official 501c3 nonprofit. Without Impact Deposits, we wouldn’t have had the funds to finish our LMS or deliver the Filmmaking for Good program with the full support the Girl Scouts needed. Thanks, Impact Deposits!”
Jessica Kizorek, Filmmaking for Good