#SoyPoderosa: Filmmaking for Young Latin American Women

#SoyPoderosa: Filmmaking for Young Latin American Women

Bahía de Caráquez, EcuadorSpencer, United States
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Transforming our communities one short film at a time.
We encourage empowerment, cultural competence, and empathy through community-based visual arts programs in Latin America.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There is a need to close the gap between educational opportunities for boys and for girls in Latin America. In particular, we encourage our female students not only to enroll in our filmmaking workshops but also to pursue careers in the visual arts. In order to address this need, we facilitate the self-representation, creative expression, and economic advancement of Latin American underserved young women through equal access to digital media training and resources. Besides training our high school age participants in digital video production and distribution, we also guide them through the process of applying to college, looking for financial resources to pay for their studies, and provide them with opportunities for them to intern and work as visual artists.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our program seeks to fortify the ideas and practices of social justice through collaboration between professionals, cultural organizations and students from Latin America. Specifically, our program represents an innovative proposal within the fields of community arts. Taking as a point of departure the dynamic function of art to transform societies, we believe that arts-education, and specifically film education, plays a significant role in the overall discussion and in the search for solutions to a wide range of problems facing contemporary societies. Among the problems addressed by our program are: the unequal power relations between teachers and students and between the developed countries and Latin America, the co-optation of youth knowledge, the lack of jobs and educational opportunities for minority female high-school students in Ecuador, the deficiency of secondary education, the contempt and disdain for the arts, and the urgent need to foster critical thinking.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

With this in mind, in May 2009 La Poderosa Media Project launched a Community-Based Arts Education Program in Ecuador. 2013 will be the fifth consecutive summer that a group consisting of professionals and students spends six weeks in Bahía de Caráquez collaborating and fostering promotive interaction between different demographic groups through the production of short films. Thus, La Poderosa Media Project utilizes a visual arts education program to develop in our young female participants a sense of civic responsibility, social justice, and community engagement through a “doing with” rather than a “doing for” approach. Our Filmmaking classes are geared toward female Latin American students (high school age) and provides them with the knowledge, tools, and skills needed to produce short films and documentaries. Through intensive multimedia workshops taught by professional filmmakers and media specialists, we instruct both theory and practice, focusing on the three stages of filmmaking: pre-production, production, and post-production. Students learn about script writing, acting, filming, sound recording, editing, among other elements related to the production of short films. By the end of each workshop the students will have learned how to create, film, and distribute their own stories.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Though there are some other programs that provide audiovisual classes to underserved youth in Ecuador, none of them provide them with the opportunity to continue learning beyond the duration of the workshop. In other words, we provide post-workshop support to our students. Specifically, we help them enroll in college, find internships, explore alternative career options, and so forth. Our Programa de Eduación Audivisual a Distancia (P.E.A.D.), launched in 2010, has two main objectives. On the one hand, it is a monitoring tool aimed at continuing working with former students so as to maintain the relation started during the onsite Visual Arts Program. On the other hand, and from a pedagogical point of view, the P.E.A.D. allows the group to further study contents relevant to our core values.

Founding Story

A couple of months ago I was surprised after opening my Facebook account to find that Adriana-a student in La Poderosa--had been included in a photo album posted by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Culture. Adriana, who has participated in our audiovisual workshops since the summer of 2010, is sitting calmly alongside well-known representatives of cultural circles in Ecuador. What really caught my eye, though, was that he had worn his Poderosa t-shirt and that several other participants had all done the same, forming an easily identifiable section of the public at this event organized by the National Cinematography Administration. Though I was unaware of the theme of the conference, the students' presence was very encouraging. Three years after having begun the audiovisual workshops in their small community, La Poderosa was showing concrete results.
About You
La Poderosa Media Project
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

La Poderosa Media Project

Organization Country

, NY, Spencer, Tompkins County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, M, Bahía de Caráquez

Age of Innovator


Gender of Innovator


How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

1st. Place (2011 Manabí Profundo Film Festival-Best Short Film)
3rd. Place (2010 Manabí Profundo Film Festival-Best Short Film)
2010 Fondos Concursables-Ministerio de Cultura del Ecuador

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two


Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to better the lives of girls and women by leveraging technology? (select all applicable)

Access to technology, Access to education/training, Access to economic opportunity.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

We have directly benefited more than 200 Latin American and American students. Indirectly, we have also benefited their families and their towns in the sense that we strive for the education of committed and informed citizens who will have a positive impact in their communities.
As of today, we have produced 14 short films and documentaries, many of which have been screened nationally and internationally. One of them, for instance, won third price in a regional film festival on 2010. Another student film was selected to participate at the Rio Film Festival, the largest audiovisual event in Latin America.
We expect to expand our program in 2013 and reach hundreds of families in Ecuador and Chile.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

In the next three years, we expect to expand to two more countries in Latin America (Colombia and Chile). This means that our current location (Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador) will serve as our on-site training center for new teachers. Also, Ecuador will be the first country to have a local production company run entirely by our female graduates. In the next three years, we expect to have impacted the lives of 300 new participants.
Our community-based approach not only has resulted in a very successful model but has also proven to be replicable in communities where young people lack the tools to make their voices heard. Thus, we have been successful in implementing our pilots in both rural and urban communities where our students where of indigenous, mestizo or African descent.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

At this point, our main barrier is the lack of stable financial support. So far we have managed to fundraise enough money as to cover our program costs. However, expansion means more expenses. We hope to secure funding for the next three years as to continue spreading our model to other regions of Ecuador and Latin America.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

In six months, we expect to have finished preparing everything prior to departing to our on-site programs in Ecuador and Chile.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Help three Ecuadorian students enroll in Film School for the academic year 2012-2013.

Task 2

Raise enough funds to cover program expenses for our two upcoming workshops in 2013 (Ecuador & Chile).

Task 3

Start organizing the logistics for a community-based visual arts program in our new location (Valparaíso, Chile).

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

In twelve months, we expect to have successfully completed two more community-based visual arts projects in Ecuador and Chile.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Enroll 80 new students for both of our Ecuador and Chile programs.

Task 2

Start the first female-led local production company in Ecuador.

Task 3

Recruit five new teaching-artists for both our Ecuador and Chile programs.

Tell us about your partnerships

We strongly believe in collaboration. Since 2006 we have worked together with the following groups: Asociación de la Juventud Kuna in Panama, COPADEBA in the Dominican Republic, Asociación de Indígenas Kolla in Argentina, the Colegio Nacional Nocturno Bahía de Caráquez, and the Museum Bahía de Caráquez in Ecuador. Similarly, for the past three years, several dependencies of The University of Texas at Austin and Wellesley College have supported our educational initiatives.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Our organization is looking for donors who will invest on the critical education and training of young people in semi-urban communities in Ecuador and Latin America. Specifically, we seek to open an office in Bahía de Caráquez that can operate without interruption throughout the year. Similarly, we accept assistance in the form of legal, financial, educational and marketing advise.