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Foster Care Film Series: Volume 1
Producer: Yasmin Mistry
39 minutes

Foster Care Film Series: Volume 1

In this award-winning collection, Charell, Ashley, and Camilla share their deeply personal stories about their experiences in the U.S. foster care system. Foster Care Film Series: Volume 1 celebrates the perseverance of these narratives, dispelling the negative stereotypes about foster care by showing how school, extended family and the kindness of strangers can help a child find their path in life.

The following three films are included in the collection:

Feeling Wanted
Charell, age 6, woke up to find herself alone. She made breakfast, dropped her baby sister off with a neighbor, and walked to school. With her father incarcerated for murder, a mother on drugs and a childhood in foster care, Charell knew it was time to break the cycle.

My Identity
Ashley, a young Native-American Caucasian girl, converts to Islam in hopes of finding structure in a life where it never existed, but with that decision comes the risk of losing one of the few biological connections she still has. My Identity tells the story of how race, religion, and the foster care experience can shape one's identity.

Family Rewritten
Despite battling Cystic Fibrosis, Camilla, age 16, identified as a typical middle-class American teenager until the thread that held her family together suddenly snapped. Just months before her 18th birthday Camilla found herself in foster care, but instead of feeling ashamed, she made a conscious decision to not let the situation define her.
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“...a useful resource for counselors, educators, and social workers as they work with foster care families and youth placed in foster care” - Educational Media Reviews Online
“These films can encourage people to identify and process the abuse and neglect that children experienced, because by processing it, they are able to help others process it.” - Social Work Student
"I believe many other youth currently in the system, or even those who have transitioned out, should watch these films. Being able to get out of the foster care system in one piece is tough as is, but having the resources, support system, housing, and income in place by the time you age out is even harder." - Anthony Turner, Former Foster Youth
“I think that films like these should be used as training tools for foster care and adoption agencies who want to help their prospective foster and adoptive parents understand the emotional impact of foster care from the perspective of a child, and understand the struggles that children who grow up in foster care face.” - Social Work Student
"When I initially saw the first two films a year or so ago, they inspired me to give each foster child coming into my home a duffel bag with their name on it." - Tammy Cohen, Foster Parent
“Although I’m a foster parent, the films only made me feel even more influenced to help. Everyone needs love!” - Anonymous Foster Parent
“We loved seeing the film and chatting with Charrell. Watching "Feeling Wanted" helped humanize foster care for our class, and inspired empathy and lively conversation. Our students loved it!” - Andrew Hume, Calhoun School
“As a social work educator, I am always searching for unique tools that can help facilitate learning. This film teaches important lessons about hope and resiliency, and demonstrates how important these concepts are when working with foster youth." - Amanda de Jesus, Fordham University
"We run a fairly large mentor program for youth in foster care. Hearing of the need and importance of a mentor is key to gaining more volunteers for us. In the same way, her video of moving in foster care WITH trash bags has greatly helped to increase the donations of luggage we received in 2015. Over 1,500 pieces! I look forward to hearing more from Charell….children currently in foster care are very appreciative!" - Fostering Great Ideas
“Feeling Wanted is an excellent resource for foster families, and for foster family agencies. It’s honest, thorough, and hopeful” - Addison Cooper, Adoption At The Movies
“The film did a wonderful job capturing the struggles our young people face in care, the different levels of compassion agencies need to screen for when recruiting and certifying families, and the resiliency of young people.” - Child Placement Supervisor
“It’s a powerful film that would help foster parents understand the lasting impacts of the experiences of the children they care for.” - Kim Phagan-Hansel, Fostering Families Magazine
“I felt humbled and honored to have a chance to share my story... I’ve fielded some tough questions about my background and some hurtful glances, but taking part in this project has been a way for me to help re-frame the conversation.” - Charell Star Charleston, "Feeling Wanted" Film Subject, Former Foster Youth
“The films illustrate that young people’s communities and kinship networks may look unfamiliar but that strength and support can be found in unexpected places, such as reconnecting with distant family members, knowledge about one’s roots, communication with birth parents, and digital communities. Knowing this can help educators create classroom environments that are more responsive to the stories that young people carry with them daily, and in doing so, strengthen these young people’s networks of support.” - L. Vasudevan & K. Rodriguez Kerr, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy Vol. 60 No. 3
"This was such an eye-opening experience and I am so thankful to have been able to witness and be educated on such a not so touched on subject. You guys are doing an amazing job of educating the world on what goes on behind the scene of foster care and what it really entails." - Child Welfare Advocate
"My Identity is a very short film that seems most likely to appeal to teens and adults. It would be valuable viewing for prospective foster and adoptive parents who are considering taking placement of grade-school or older kids. The film would also be helpful to any prospective parents as it could help them consider the place of culture in the life of their future children" - Addison Cooper, Adoption At The Movies
“I think that this is an important story that not only deserves to be told, it needs to be told. It opens a platform for children in similar situations to speak up for the help that they need. It also creates a discourse community, and encourages and pushes young adults to succeed by showing them there is a future.” - Blackbird Film Festival
“I loved your film so so much. It's really been sticking with me and I'm truly thinking about trying out some foster care volunteer opportunities.” - Anonymous
"Thank you for showing the positive side of foster care. I'm so glad this beautiful young girl has the opportunity to have the future I never had, by going to college and becoming whatever she wants to become. You don't know (or maybe you do) how much this film will mean to the foster care community. I am SO hoping those who see this film who think children in care must have done something to deserve to be in foster care have their eyes opened to the reality of why foster care exists. You are amazing! This film is amazing! THANK YOU for creating this!!!" - Kathy Jones, Former foster youth, Foster Youth Advocate and Author
“Family Rewritten is a gripping, impactful film. Camilla’s bravery and perspective could be helpful to foster parents, teens in foster care, and people considering becoming foster parents.” - Addison Cooper, Adoption At The Movies
“While this is a short film at only 13 minutes, it packs a powerful message about the complexity of relationships and the importance of stable homes for children. "Family Rewritten" could be used in several different settings from helping foster parents understand the difficult feelings and relationships associated with foster care to giving current foster youth hope from Camilla's story. Ultimately, "Family Rewritten" is well-done and pro­vides a unique glimpse of one foster child's experience” - Kim Phagan-Hansel, Fostering Families Today
“I remember filming being extremely cathartic and I feel so lucky that people like me were provided an outlet to talk about this. I am forever grateful to Yasmin Mistry and her team for making this documentary series and shedding light on such an important issue.” - Camilla Tecsy, “Family Rewritten” Film Subject, Former Foster Youth

• Professional Documentary Award, St. Francis Women's Film Festival, 2017
• Audience Choice Award, Forum on Law Culture & Society (FOLCS), 2016
• Best Female Filmmaker, Forum on Law Culture & Society (FOLCS), 2016
• Founders Award, MCNY Film Festival, 2016
• Special Jury Award, Blackbird Film Festival, 2016
• Best Cinematography, St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, 2015
• Best Short Film, Just Film Awards 2015
• Audience Choice Award, IndieWorks, Oct. 2015
• Best Documentary, CTLPDX Film Festival
• Honorable Mention for Best in Festival, CTLPDX Film Festival
• Best Documentary Short - Rivne International Film Festival, 2016
• Best Documentary Short - North By Midwest Film Festival, 2016
• Best Documentary - Clean Shorts Film Festival, 2017
• Best Graphics - St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, 2016
• Princeton Tiger Award - Nassau Film Festival, 2018
• Audience Choice Award - St. Frances College Women's Film Festival, 2018
• Best in Show - River Town Film Festival, 2017
• Best Documentary - St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, 2017
• Winner: Second Place - MCNY Film Festival, 2018
• Winner: Third Place - Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival, 2017
• Best Family & Fun Film - Marcellus Movie Madness, 2017
• Norman Film Festival (2017)
• Saint Francis College Women's Film Festival (2017)
• Equinox Film Festival (2017)
• Chicago Feminist Film Festival (2017)
• Winter Film Awards (2017)
• Frozen River Film Festival (2017)
• Sweet As Film Festival (2016)
• Forum on Law, Culture, and Society (FOLCS) Film Series (2016)
• Universal Film Festival (2016)
• Boardwalk Film Festival (2016)
• MCNY Short Film Night (2016)
• Ridgefield Independent Film Festival (2016)
• Life Fest Film Festival (2016)
• (In)Justice for All Film Festival (2016)
• Blackbird Film Festival (2016)
• Take Two Film Festival (2016)
• WAMMFest (2016)
• Milledgeville Film Festival (2016)
• Clean Shorts Film Festival
• Feminitsta Filmmaker Series (2016)
• Saint Louis International Film Festival (2015)
• IndieWorks (2015)
• #DirectedByWomen (2015)
• St. Louis Filmmaker's Showcase (2015)
• Stony Brook Film Festival (2015)
• CTLPDX International Film Festival (2015)
• Colorado Foster Care & Adoption Festival (2015)
• Chicago Onscreen (2018)
• Dox on the Fox: Short Documentary Film Festival (2018)
• Girls on Fire Short Film Screening (2017)
• Ridgefield Independent Film Festival (2017)
• Freethought Film Festival (2017)
• Ismailia Film Festival (2017)
• LOVE>> Film Screenings (2017)
• Central Michigan International Film Festival (2017)
• Avante Edge Film Festival (2016)
• Islamic Unity International Film Festival (2016)
• Equality Festival (2016)
• Native American Film Festival of the Southeast (2016)
• Marcellus Movie Madness Family Film Festival (2016)
• MikroFAF (2016)
• Resistance International Film Festival (2016)
• Chicago International Social Change Film Festival (2016)
• Voiceless International Film Festival (2016)
• FER Film (2016)
• Rivne International Film Festival (2016)
• St. Louis Filmmaker's Showcase (2016)
• Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival (2016)
• IndieWorks (2016)
• DocuTIFF (2016)
• North by Midwest Micro-Budget Film Festival (2016)
• Syracuse Spring Fest (2016)
• Equinox Women's Film Festival (2016)
• Making Ourselves: Film Festival (2016)
• SET NYC Monthly Film Festival (2016)
• York Film Festival (2016)
• Ummah Wide Pop-Up Film Festival (2016)
• Grand Rapids Film Festival (2018)
• Hobnobben Film Festival (2018)
• Awareness Film Festival (2018)
• Sedona Film Festival (2018)
• Love Your Shorts (2018)
• My Love Michelle Short Film Festival (2018)
• Anchorage International Film Festival (2017)
• Memphis Indie Film Festival (2017)
• Breakthrough Series (2017)
• Tallgrass Film Festival (2017)
• Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival (2017)
• Golden Door Film Festival (2017)
• Rahway International Film Festival (2017)
• Woods Hole Film Festival (2017)
• St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase (2017)
• Frederick Film Festival (2017)
• Milledgeville Film Festival (2017)

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TWN acknowledges that in New York we are on the unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape, Canarsie, Shinecock, and Munsee peoples and challenges the harm that continues to be inflicted upon Indigenous and People of Color communities here and abroad, which is why we all need to be part of the struggle for rights, equality and justice.

TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Ford Foundation, Golden Globe Foundation, Kolibri Foundation and individual donors.