BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) – A look of joy spread across the faces of a handful of youth who struggled with homelessness as they were introduced to techniques in producing their own films during a workshop held in Beaverton Wednesday.
The film training was made possible by the non-profit Outside the Frame, a Portland-based organization that seeks to help marginalized and homeless youth “be the directors of their own films and lives.”
The workshop was co-facilitated by another non-profit that services homeless youth, called HomePlate Youth Services, an organization that employs a former Outside the Frame participant.
Joey Whiting (they/them) originally experimented with film-making back in 2011 when a fledgling weekly group of aspiring homeless youth filmmakers was established in the basement of the free Portland clinic, Outside In.
When Outside the Frame was formed independently as an offshoot from those early sessions, Whiting broadened their role to be a paid peer support specialist at the organization.
Whiting has since gone on to find success helping homeless youth get connected to jobs, shelter, and food at the Beaverton-based HomePlate.
Whiting’s story is similar to other past participants of the film-making workshop, some of whom have gone on to get their GED, enter college, find stable housing or work and one even formed their own non-profit to help struggling youth.
Talilo Marfil is currently a paid mentor at Outside the Frame who started as a homeless participant of the program in 2011. Having just left prison, Marfil said getting assisted with film-making skills helped him stay on track to a better life during a time when he struggled to find work.
“I could’ve went back to prison easy,” Marfil said. “The self-worth that I gained from OTF and having a camera in my hand — something to tell my own story and getting paid for it — made me feel like I could do other things with my life. I don’t have to sell drugs.”
Marfil said he ended up going to college after that and is now running a resource center for struggling youth to find their passion — both vocationally and academically — through mentorship. It’s called Ascending Flow and located in outer east Portland.
The founder of Outside the Frame, Nili Yosha, is the daughter of independent filmmakers. Not only does her organization host free film-making workshops for homeless youth, it also hires homeless youth for professional video productions.
Yosha said the idea behind Outside the Frame is not to give people a handout, but motivation to better their own lives.
“It’s recognizing the power within. Making the movies makes them… remember what they’re worth. And the films themselves show the public what they’re worth. These kids are amazing and have so many skills.”
Films produced by Outside the Frame about self-managed tiny house villages will be screened for free at Portland State University at Lincoln Hall Recital Hall on Friday, Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m.
The organization’s annual gala is Thursday, Nov. 7 at Hollywood Theater at 7 p.m. and this year features stories of “Mygration” from homeless and Latinx youth.