Celebrating "Kids in the Spotlight," Filmmaking by Los Angeles Youth

By Caitlin Arcand • July 20, 2021

For the past several years, the ISA has had the honor of partnering with Kids In The Spotlight (KITS), a program that supports youth from disadvantaged areas in Los Angeles and allows them to learn filmmaking by writing, casting, and starring in their own short films. We have supported the organization by volunteering during their classes, judging The KITS National Short Screenplay Competition, providing ISAConnect memberships to the finalists, and a script consultation to the 1st Place Winner. 

“KITS is providing valuable education and experience to these talented youths, and we are so happy to be able to help showcase their talent,” remarked Molly Kasch, Chief Operating Officer of the ISA. 

The only program of its kind, KITS has created over 75 films with more than 500 youth from foster care since its inception in 2009. 

 “The KITS National Short Screenplay Competition was created so that we could continue to provide foster youth with a creative outlet during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Martin Russell Johnson, Program Director of KITS. 

“We had no idea that the competition would create such an uplifting community, where foster youth from across the nation united, celebrated, and encouraged the success of one another. It’s a dream come true for us to witness the amazing peer-to-peer healing, which is invaluable.” 

In May, KITS announced the newest winners of their National Short Screenplay Competition in a virtual ceremony with the President of Domestic Marketing at Universal Pictures, Dwight Caines. Following the ceremony, the three winners sat down with our very own Scott Markus for an interview. 

Please join us in congratulating this year’s incredibly talented winners: 

1st Place: James Gutierrez - Rainy Days 

2nd Place: Marina Aguayo - 106 Pounds 

3rd Place: Jesus Ledezma - Doble Filo

To learn more about KITS, please visit: https://www.kitsinc.org/

Caitlin Arcand