New College Hosts Inaugural Girls Media Camp

Camp participants with Dr. Barbara Brickman
Twelve middle-school-age girls participated in a media camp on campus this summer.

From the October 2017 Desktop News | New College hosted the first Druid City Girls Media Camp on the UA campus this summer. Created and founded by 14 UA students and one professor, the weeklong camp served to educate and provide hands-on experience in filmmaking for young girls in the Tuscaloosa area.

The inspiration for a girls’ film camp originated from a course titled Women in Film, taught by Dr. Barbara Jane Brickman, assistant professor in New College and the department of gender and race studies. When faced with the lack of a girls’ film camp in Tuscaloosa, Brickman created a new course, “Girls Film School,” for UA students to build the Druid City Girls Media Camp from the ground up.

“We spent the first half of the semester talking about why there’s a need for a camp like this at all,” Brickman said. “Then we spent the second half of the semester creating an infrastructure for the camp.”

Group photo of camp participants with Dr. Barbara Brickman
Camp participants learned how to use cameras and make their own films.

After a recruitment process driven by a search for diverse girls whose stories are rarely told in today’s media, Brickman and the creators of the Druid City Girls Media Camp selected 12 local girls between the ages of 10 and 14 for the program, and even awarded scholarships to one-third of its participants. The five-day camp asked the girls to reflect on the typical portrayal of girls in today’s media, and gave the girls tools and assistance to write and produce short films of their own.

“We were really trying to give them the sense that we want them to tell their story, a girl’s story, not the story that the media typically tells,” Brickman said.

UA undergraduate students interned with the camp as group leaders and instructors on topics such as screenwriting, editing, and cinematography. Jazzmin Crews, a senior in the College of Communication and Information Sciences, served as a group leader, instructor, and mentor, and she will pursue a career in the film industry upon graduating in December.

“I had meetings with Dr. Brickman about the curriculum, selecting diverse girls, and the process of how the camp would go several months before the camp was held,” Crews said. “Once camp was in session, I helped teach the girls how to use the cameras, determine the different types of frames that could be shot, and shared a personal lesson about an assignment named ‘Portrait of a Girl’ where they expressed what is was like being a girl.”

A camp participant edits her film using a computer.
A camp participant edits her film using a computer.

After five days packed with education and advanced filmmaking, each group of girls had written, produced, and edited a short film that was shown at a screening for their families to attend. Brickman and the interns were more than pleased with the results.

“There really wasn’t anything they couldn’t do,” Brickman said.

The Druid City Girls Media Camp is scheduled for another week at UA in the summer of 2018, and plans for the program moving forward are already in the works.

“I would love to include more experts in film and more faculty members in the future,” Brickman said. “For the future I’ve also been thinking a lot about the high school age, and reaching that age group with the program.”