Hands on Scholastic Journalism for youth!

A Backpack Journalist

2017 Inspire Film Makers Experiences

A Backpack Journalist/Team Back­pack Journalists announcing today:

Inspire Film Maker’s Academy for Lowcountry students.

[email protected] Low Country Filmmakers Academy, for year two, is to be held at Burke High School in the Charleston, SC. Participation is open to any Charleston area student, rising  4th to 8th grade, and an intern program  planned for high school students.

Burke High School location: June 19-23, 2017 – East Cooper Montessori School: June 26-30, 2017

Allegro Music Charter School-assisting with music

“In 2017, we are repeating and expanding our offerings! Last year, INSPIRE@ the Lowcountry, served nearly 70 students in grades 4th through 8th and produced seven short films in one long but rewarding week of storyboarding, pre-production, interviewing, shooting, and editing.   We again bring in engaging professional photographers, script writers, film makers, teachers and artists to provide learning opportunities for Lowcountry youth from 4th to 8th grade.  This year we are offering for high school students, an intern training. We have expanded our research teams. ” Linda Dennis, Creative Director.

Burke High School and East Cooper Montessori School each offering different curriculum/and experiences.

Call for updates as we are continuing to add staff and experiences!  843 582 2794 or 843 284 8026(office)

Inspire Film Maker’s Academy – 2017 ” this year expands to include from Ken Burns’ Florentine Films, Sarah Burns and David McMahon as instructors (www.florentinefilms.com)

From the Hollywood scene, Los Angeles’ based, Diane Louie joins us, leading our overall creative and film editing! www.dianelouie.com

Gracie and Lacy, national stage performers will spend a day with us as they share their on stage live performance, then students go behind the scenes, for costuming and make-up techniques. (www.gracieandlacy.com)

As of today film projects range from a biographical documentary to lighthearted inspirational topics:  “The life of Esau Jenkins”, “I scream for Ice Cream”, “A kid’s guide to Charleston“, “ If these streets could talk:  Damon Fordham”, and the continued collection of oral histories of Veterans.  Students, working in Film Studio groups named after the streets of Charleston, also are tasked with creating their own topics.  Each week closes with all films screened and presented to the community and parents.

Space is limited and requires advance registration, and parental permission.  Each student is asked to also self-assess their present technology and film making skills. Full Scholarships are available.

Team Backpack Journalist    “Building resilience through creative expression”

We provide services and event support to provide creative writing and real world journalism experiences for students of all ages. Currently serving youth in grades 4th to 8th, our mission is to provide scholastic journalism curriculum in workshops, for after school programs and then in publications and short video venues, written by our students.   Our curriculum includes all forms of writing, poetry, photography, film making and digital and social media created by participants.   Partners include the City of Charleston, Hendrick Automotive, SC Ports Authority, Burke High School, Apple, Inc., CANON USA and Nikon.


For registration information:  [email protected],      843 284 8026 – phone

www.abackpackjournalist.com   facebook.com/backpackjournalist   facebook.com/inspireatthelowcountry @backpackjrnlist































UPDATE:  August 20, 2016


gaillard-groupThe finals are in!  SEVEN short documentaries were completed!

Take a look at what our film makers just accomplished:

“7” Inspire Films are as follows:  “Sea Turtles” – “Damon Fordam’s Walking Tour of Charleston (if these streets could talk?) – “MINI Cooper Racing Team”- “The Mystery at the Library” – “Harold’s Cabin” – “The Hollywood of Charleston” – and “Jestines”.
BOUNCE TV – Jackie Robinson and Sarah Burns and David McMahon from Florentine Films.


July 16, 2016

ANNOUNCE [email protected][email protected]

UPDATE:  80 youth are signed up!  Photo here shows our Saturday gathering at the Charleston County Public Library for a photography experience.

May 12, 2016 – The Charleston Gaillard Center Education Initiative, in partnership with Team Backpack
Journalists, is excited to announce [email protected], a film maker’s academy and festival for Lowcountry students and their families. This unique academy and festival focuses on creating films that inspire and educate youth.

The inaugural year kicks off August 1-8, 2016 at the Gaillard Center followed by a special screening of Jackie Robinson, at Joseph P.Riley, Jr. Park on Saturday, August 13. It includes special guests from Ken Burns’ Florentine Films, Sarah Burns and David McMahon who were directors and producers of the film.
[email protected], in year one, will feature local students filming, editing and completing documentaries to premier at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park on August 13.

By engaging professional photographers, script writers, film makers, teachers and artists, along with high school students serving as interns and mentors, [email protected] provides countless learning opportunities for Lowcountry youth from 4th to 8th grade.

To help excite students participating in [email protected], we are bringing together a series of films featuring modern day heroes and heroines from all races, nationalities and genders. These films profile the humanness, the real struggles of individuals, sharing their stories, their hopes and heartaches, their incredible journeys. Each films educational value is important to our selection process.
“Team Backpack Journalists participant experiences were the impetus to help bring this forward to Lowcountry students and their families! During interviews with Mike Veeck, President of the RiverDogs, we learned the story of Larry Doby, #2 behind Jackie Robinson in breaking the color line for Baseball in 1947. Inspired by the documentary about Mr. Doby’s life, Pride Against Prejudice:The Life of Larry Doby, by Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions, we met and interviewed Ken Burns,with Florentine Films.  We viewed clips from his upcoming Jackie Robinson, and learned his process for evaluating and researching a topic.  Mr. Burns clearly inspired us further, and then was willing to help launch our first year!   The inspiration for our camp was born!“
-Linda Dennis, Program Manager, Team Backpack Journalists.
[email protected] closes with a professional development day for teachers, supported by PBS, WETA, Jackie Robinson Lesson Plans, and Team Backpack Journalists’ “Storytelling for Young Filmmakers”.Additionally the camp and evening at the THE JOE will include a visit from Sarah Burns and David McMahon of Florentine Films.  Thank you so much for supporting our first year.

[email protected]

August 1–8
Charleston Gaillard Center

Screening of Jackie Robinson and Student Films
August 13
Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park

Partners, Supporters and Guest Speakers as of July 9, 2016

Florentine Films, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, Brooklyn, New York

Michael Potter & Manuel Lavelle – Jose Remi Productions, Washington, DC

Rick Esposito, Charleston Southern University, N. Charleston, SC

Ron Small, Anchor Media, Charleston & New Orleans, LA

Stan Foxworthy, Foxworthy Photography, Charleston, South Carolina

Julian Adams – Solar Films (Filming The Last Good Measure), Los Angeles, California

Doreen Sullivan, CEO, POST NO BILLS, Charleston, South Carolina

Professor Joseph P. Riley, The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina

Trident Film, Media & Visual Arts

GENMOVE, Suarez Soccer providing marketing support and fun exercise program for all academy attendees

The Citadel, Service Learning and Civic Engagement, Krause Center, providing Citadel Cadets to assist throughout as volunteers

Apple, Inc.

The City of Charleston & City Recreation Department

The River Dogs

Charleston County School District – Media & Arts Department.

Links/Teachers Supply Closet

Sophia Institute

Engaging Creative Minds

Raphael James, News Anchor  – CBS, Channel 5, News 5

Gregory Electric – SC Military Museum Foundation

[email protected], Team Backpack Journalists,   Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts.

Charleston County School District


About Team Backpack Journalists

Team Backpack Journalists’ services provide writing, storytelling, film making and “real world journalism” experiences for 4th grade to 12th grade, at-risk and military youth.  The team’s mission for youth participants is to “build resilience through creative expression”. Each youth learn first-hand by increased observation and listening skills, and then create stories from their experiences in print, video and using social media as a tool.

Originally, our Scholastic Journalism Curriculum developed by A Backpack Journalist, was considered a pre-cursor to high school or college coursework focused on Mass Communication, Broadcast and Journalism. A notable fact, all careers require writing and good observation skills to succeed.

Team Backpack Journalists, since 2009 and serving 1600 youth, support workshops, symposiums, after school program venues and “Cover the Assignment”– real world reporting.

Relocating to Charleston, SC in 2014-2014 following a drawdown in military family support,  the curriculum was created to support elementary and middle school students for an afterschool program.  To date,  the :Cover the Assignment”  experiences have included one on one, with individuals such as Pharrell Williams, Pauletta Washington, Ken Burns and Skip Gates, Rick Hendrick, Secretary Hillary Clinton and a host of governmental officials, political candidates and events.   During an assignment, the team participant’s work from a backpack to write and report, broadcast, film and or publish via social media.

Our team as of this date has also published three books: Nature Storytelling (military youth, Colorado Springs, Florissant Monument), Baseball, the RiverDogs and the Life of Larry Doby (Title I students, Charleston, SC) and Cars & Parts, (Title I students, meeting at St. Julian Devine, Charleston, SC, Hendrick Automotive Group).

Beginning in September 15, 2016, the [email protected] Film Makers Academy/Team Backpack Journalists continue in the afterschool programs with the City of Charleston, South Carolina Recreation Department locations.

 Partners include The Gaillard, Performance Hall, Charleston, South Carolina, Education Department, Hendrick Automotive of Charleston and North Charleston, City of Charleston and City of Charleston Recreation Department, the SC Military Museum (collecting the Oral Histories of Vietnam Veterans) and Georgia Tech Horizons Program.   Our printing partner is SteamEd Publishing.

Military youth support includes the National Guard Youth Programs, state by state and US Army Reserve Youth in the United States, DINFOS(Public Affairs to include the Pentagon Channel) and Associations (AUSA, MOAA, Blue Star Families). Video content and photography, reporting found via the https://www.dvidshub.net/.


Social Media: Facebook.com/backpackjournalist




Office: 843.284.8026

Linda Dennis, Program Manager [email protected]

Hands on Scholastic Journalism for youth!
2017 Inspire Film Makers Experiences