Foster Care Film & Community Engagement Project (FCFCEP)

: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production


Foster Care Film & Community Engagement Project tells the true-to-life stories of foster youth to create greater understanding of the child welfare system.


The Foster Care Film & Community Engagement Project (FCFCEP) is an 8-part documentary short film series which tells the true-to-life stories of foster youth in order to create a greater understanding of the child welfare system. The film series will culminate in a feature length film.


For several years, I volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to help children in New York City find permanent homes. That experience exposed me firsthand to the varied and sometimes traumatic interactions that foster children and their families have with social services and the court system. Portrayals of foster care in popular culture often conceive of it as broken, but through my volunteer work, I learned that often it is a lack of information and misunderstanding that fuels that image. Driven to act on these shortcomings using my film and advocacy skills, I created the Foster Care Film & Community Engagement Project (FCFCEP) with the help of my colleagues. We are now working on an 8-part series of films which represent foster youth voices. Our films are not traditional documentaries, but visually artistic representations, symbolic, and metaphorical glimpses into foster youth’s past and present. They are embodiments of crucial moments in foster youth’s lives, and a representation of populations that are largely unheard and forgotten. The film’s messages are kept honest through foster youth’s participation in all aspects of the project – from filming, to production, to community outreach. Foster youth work behind the scenes as camera operators, producers, and more. They share their stories through interviews, poetry, writing, art and music. Upon a film’s completion foster youth have the opportunity to participate on panels and speak directly to our audiences at film festivals, community events and conferences. Each film in our 8-part series will have it’s own unique artistic style that emulates the story and personality of the foster youth being featured. Incorporating water color, mixed media collages, and graphic novel-style imagery with live-action footage are just some of the varied approaches we’ve taken thus far. However, the unique use of art and animation, first person foster youth perspective, and behind-the-scenes foster youth participation, are unifying factors that allow the films to come together as a cohesive series. Upon completing of the documentary short film series we plan to move into post-production on a documentary feature film. This film will be a culmination of voices from the foster care system. Similar to the short films it will use art and animation to fill in the blank slate from these foster youth’s past, and will be created with the help of current and former foster youth. For me, art and animation have always been tools for social change. In the past I’ve used them to visually represent deaf culture and to advocate on behalf of non-profits such as the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Malaria No More, and the World Health Organization. Now, I am able to apply those experiences to my current project, the Foster Care Film & Community Engagement Project (FCFCEP). FCFCEP represents the next ambitious step in my development of this particular approach to art as social change.


YASMIN MISTRY - Director / Producer

Yasmin Mistry is an Emmy-nominated animator and filmmaker. Her work has been displayed worldwide including recent showings at the White House and United Nations as well as at film festivals such as Cannes, SXSW, Tribeca and Clermont-Ferrand. She is the recipient of the Puffin Foundation’s 2013 film grant, the Brooklyn Arts Council’s 2014 - 2017 film grants, and the winner of the Jessie Streich-Kest Memorial Grant. Her first live-action film, “Feeling Wanted” was an official selection of more than 25 film festivals. The film won 12 awards and was nominated for Best Short Film of 2015 by Adoption At The Movies. When not working as an artist, Yasmin dedicates her time to the foster youth of New York City. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate, she received the 2012 Advocate of The Year Award for her dedication to getting services for foster care children with special needs. Yasmin was inspired to create this film when she realized the voices of the children she worked with were not being heard and their stories never told.

MAXINE TRUMP - Editor/Writer

Maxine is a director, story producer, and co-owner of Hitman Productions. She directed the New York Times Critics' Pick feature documentary “Musicwood,” which screened at over 30 film festivals worldwide. Prior to this she worked at the BBC in London as the development executive for non-fiction and scripted programs. She is the winner of several BDA & Promax awards.

LAURA FONG - Assistant Editor

Laura is an associate producer for PBS Newshour Weekend. Her prior work on CNN’s episodic series “Inside Man” helped garner CNN a 2013 IDA award for Best Limited Series and a 2014 IDA nomination for Best Episodic series.

RHETT DUPONT - Cinematographer
Rhett’ is best known for his work on the television show The Outs as well as Genderf*kation, a feature length documentary which explores gender and sexual identity. When not behind the camera Rhett is a team leader of FilmShop, an independent filmmaker collaborative.


Jeton is an award winning multi-instrumentalist and classically trained composer who has performed worldwide with the Albanian State Ensemble. He has composed original musical scores for several award-winning independent films that have been screened at festivals worldwide.


Erich is a sound designer and mixer with extensive television experience. His work can be heard on A&E, BBC, Discovery, ESPN, FX, FOX and Lifetime.

AMANDA DE JESUS - Social Work Consultant

Amanda is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-R) and psychotherapist. She received a Masters of Social Work from Hunter College with additional training from The Ackerman Institute for the Family and from The Metropolitan Institute for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She currently provides psychotherapy for adults, adolescents and children experiencing mental health and behavioral difficulties.


Connect With The Filmmakers:


The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2023
"Feeling Wanted" | Professional Documentary Award, St. Francis Women's Film Festival, 2017
"Feeling Wanted" | Audience Choice, Best Female Filmmaker, Forum on Law Culture & Society, 2016
"Feeling Wanted" | Founders Award, MCNY Film Festival, 2016
"Feeling Wanted" | Special Jury Award, Blackbird Film Festival, 2016
"Feeling Wanted" | Best Cinematography, St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, 2015
"Feeling Wanted" | Best Short Film, Just Film Awards, 2015
"Feeling Wanted" | Audience Choice Award, IndieWorks, Oct. 2015
"Feeling Wanted" | Best Documentary, CTLPDX Film Festival, 2015
“My Identity“ | Best Documentary Short, Rivne International Film Festival, 2016
“My Identity“ | Best Documentary Short North By Midwest Film Festival, 2016
“My Identity“ | Best Documentary, Clean Shorts Film Festival, 2017
“My Identity“ | Best Graphics, St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, 2016


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