The Echo Park Film Center didn’t nearly happen. But when Paulo Davanzo’s parents died, it seemed the best way to pay homage and keep alive their memory.
“My parents were activists and they passed away very early on in my life. I started this in memory of my parents. I found combining the things I loved activism, education and film making the best way to continue their legacy of giving,” says Paulo.
“I love Echo Park, “says Paulo. “As a child I was driving around here with my mum and I said to her, ‘oh look, there’s a lake.”
As a filmmaker and teacher Paulo has a close insight into the unique social culture of Echo Park. That’s why he doesn’t like being commended on the work the center does with youth at risk. “Every child, every young person is at risk,” he says. “ Youth at risk is a basterdised term. There was a time when school wasn’t on everyone’s agenda here but since then through the years the demographics have changed and now most are on support programs, go to school and some even finish college.”
This isn’t just about learning how to make a film. “We believe in the joy of the motion picture,” explains Paulo. “Not Hollywood narrative. anything but that.” Documentaries from the world over are shown as are the films made by the students. “The idea is to spark discussion, have a good time and maybe be inspired to use film as a medium of change,” says Paulo.
Funding is always an issue through there is a diverse pool of fund providers now. “We have started paying our teachers now. I too pay myself pennies for every hour,” says Paulo. Bur for the teachers, money is the last reason to join. Eve La Fontaine says, her greatest moment are the film retrospectives her class holds at the end of every session.
For more information visit the Film Center .