Foster Care Film & Community Engagement Project (FCFCEP)

: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production


Foster Care Film & Community Engagement Project tells the true-to-life stories of those with lived experience in the child welfare system.


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

Our films include:

(15 min. documentary short, released - Watch Trailer)
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 a dad incarcerated for murder, a mom on drugs & a childhood in foster care, Charell knew it was time to break the cycle.

(11 min. documentary short, released - Watch Trailer)
Ashley, a young woman who identifies as Native-American Caucasian, 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 family heritage can shape one's identity.

(13 min. documentary short, released - Watch Trailer)
Despite battling Cystic Fibrosis, Camilla, age 16, identifies as a typical middle-class American teenager until the thread that holds her family together suddenly snaps. Just months before her 18th birthday Camilla finds herself in foster care, but instead of being ashamed, she makes a conscious decision to not let her situation define her.

(9 min. documentary short, released - Watch Trailer)
Sold for $100 at the age of 5, Fekri suffers through years of abuse before his plight is discovered. After almost a year of hospitalization and therapy Fekri moves into a group home where he finds support, mentorship, and eventual forgiveness towards the family which sold him.

(28 min. fiim in post-production, broadcast release Fall 2023 - Watch Trailer)
A half-hour documentary film which celebrates foster youth, showing how school, extended-family and the kindness of strangers can help a child find their path in life. Tackling issues such as substance abuse, parental incarceration, grief, and loss. Absence/Presence provides an inside look into the impact of the foster care system through the eyes of those who have experienced it first-hand.

(feature film in post-production, anticipated broadcast release 2025 - Watch Trailer)
In an effort to understand her tumultuous childhood, a Vietnamese-American woman sets out to discover her family history; uncovering two sisters and a legacy of childhood abuse that leaves her grappling with one question “how do you heal when you don’t know the truth?”
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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 a series of films which represent foster care alumni 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 care alumni’s participation in all aspects of the project – from filming, to production, to community outreach. Those with lived experience in the child welfare system 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 care alumni have the opportunity to participate on panels and speak directly to our audiences at film festivals, community events and conferences. 


YASMIN MISTRY - Director | Producer

Yasmin Mistry is an Emmy-nominated animator and award-winning filmmaker. who blends these creative mediums to tell character-driven stories with an intimate lens. Her work has been displayed worldwide, including showings at the United Nations and White House as well as at SXSW, Tribeca Film Festival, DOC NYC, and more. She is the recipient of funding from the Jerome Foundation, Center of Asian American Media (CAAM), Annie E. Casey Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, Puffin Foundation, Riverside Sharing Fund, and Harnisch Foundation and was a finalist for funding from both the ITVS Diversity Development Fund and Jerome Hill Fellowship. Films from her documentary shorts series about foster care have been featured in over 140 film festivals and nominated for more than 80 awards. In 2018, She received the CASA Hero Award for her advocacy work, giving youth in the child welfare system an opportunity to be heard. When not making films, Yasmin works as a programmer for the Anchorage International Film Festival, a screener for the Blackbird Film Festival, and has been a co-leader for the filmmaking collaborative Docshop.

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 - Associate Producer | Assistant Editor

Laura Fong is a New York-based producer/ cinematographer/ editor with more than six years long-form and breaking news experience at PBS Newshour Weekend, where she has reporting experience on U.S. politics, education, the arts, and urban transit. Laura's previous work includes producing the first three seasons of the CNN documentary series "Inside Man  Morgan Spurlock" as the lead researcher and archivist. Most recently, she produced two half-hour documentaries for NJ PBS series Treasures of New Jersey: “The Peter Mott House” and “Great Swamp.” As a Teach for America corps member, Laura was a first grade teacher in Houston.  She has a B.A from the University of Oregon's journalism school.

RHETT DUPONT - Associate Producer | Cinematographer

Rhett duPont Vecchio got his start filming performances by the likes of Reggie Watts, John Hodgman, and Ira Glass. As a director of photography he has been a longtime collaborator with Yasmin Mistry on documentary projects related to the foster care system, one of which, “Feeling Wanted” won a cinematography award at the St. Louis Filmmakers showcase in 2015. As a producer, Rhett has worked on many projects including the series “Everything’s OK” which was showcases at the Cannes Court Metrage and reviewed positively on the AV Club.


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, Ph.D., LCSW-R - Social Work Consultant

Dr. Amanda de Jesús received her master’s in social work from Hunter College and her PhD in social work from Fordham University. Since 2012, she has served as an advisor for the Foster Care Film and Community Engagement Project. Prior to her current role at Brooklyn College, she worked as a therapist for several years in community health centers and has experience with a wide range of populations. She currently maintains a private practice. Her research and clinical interests include immigrants and refugees, trauma, mental health, and foster care. She is an adjunct professor at the Fordham Graduate School of Social Service and is on the faculty at the Metropolitan Institute for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She is currently working on a qualitative study about former foster youths' experiences.


Thu-Huong Hoang is a first-generation Vietnamese American producer and visual storyteller based in Brooklyn, NY. She grew up in Little Saigon in Orange County, California,  where her parents' passion for personal storytelling inspired her to pursue a career in the film and media  industry. She’s been working in media production for over a decade, producing documentaries and entertainment for companies such as Vice, Refinery29, and MTV. Currently, she is producing marketing and educational content for employee-owned small businesses at Teamshares, Inc. She completed her first pilot screenplay titled "The Window." As a storyteller, she believes in the power of vulnerability to create authentic and impactful films and stories that can make a difference.

TIM GERARD BARKER - Cinematographer

Tim Gerard Barker is an award-winning cinematographer and photographer based in Vietnam. His documentary credits include Dog Meat Mafia, Return to Vietnam: The Boys of ‘67, and Return to Vietnam: Breaking the Silence. Commercial and editorial clients include Nike, Forbes, Novartis, Everlane, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Traveler, Getty Images, The Guardian, BBC and CNN.

HANNAH ENGELSON - Cinematographer

Hannah Engelson is a cinematographer and documentary filmmaker. With a background in photojournalism, she specializes in capturing compelling moments using a cinéma vérité approach. Her work has appeared on platforms including Short of the Week, NBC Universal, VICE News Tonight, Business Insider, The World Channel, American Masters and for clients including Capitol Records, UberEats, The Empire State Building, Committee to Protect Journalists and United Airlines. She most recently filmed behind the scenes documentary footage of Noah Baumbach’s Netflix Original Film, White Noise.

JIN YOO-KIM - Consulting Producer

Jin Yoo-Kim is a Bolivian-born Korean American filmmaker who directed and produced for “Take Out With Lisa Ling” She produced and impact produced “Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust,” co-produced and impact produced “A Woman’s Work:: The NFL’S Cheerleader Problem”, co-produced “K-Town ‘92,” and impact produced for “Try Harder!,” “Waking Dream,” “Blowin’ Up.” She was an impact mentor for the 2022 A-Doc x Haverfod Impact Lab for “Liquor Store Dreams,” a regional board member for DPA, was a 2022 US - South Korea NextGen Creative Fellow and a 2022-2023 Sundance Women to Watch Adobe Fellow. Yoo-Kim was also a 2020 Sundance Creative Producers Fellow, a 2020 Film Independent X CNN Original Series Docuseries Fellow, a 2020-2021 Redford Center fellow, and a 2020 Film Independent Doc Lab fellow, and a 2017 Firelight Media Impact Producing Fellow.


Connect With The Filmmakers:


The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2024
"My Identity" - Screened at 35+ film festivals, nominated for 12 awards, winner of 4 awards.
"Feeling Wanted" - Screened at 30+ film festivals, nominated for 16 awards, winner of 10 awards.
"Family Rewritten" - Screened at 35+ film festivals, nominated for 19 awards, winner of 13 awards.
"For A Better Life" - Screened at 60+ film festivals, nominated for 39 awards, winner of 22 awards.
"Feeling Wanted"  -  Professional Documentary Award, St. Francis Women's Film Festival, 2017
"Feeling Wanted"  -  Audience Choice & Best Female Filmmaker, Forum on Law Culture & Society (FOLCS
"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 & Honorable Mention for Best in Festival, CTLPDX Film Festival
"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
"Family Rewritten" - Best Short Documentary, Revolution Me Film Festival, 2020
"Family Rewritten" - Best Documentary Film, Franklin International Independent Film Festival, 2018
"Family Rewritten" -  Best Documentary Film, Roselle Park Short Film Festival, 2018
"Family Rewritten" - Princeton Tiger Award, Nassau Film Festival, 2018
"Family Rewritten" -  Audience Choice Award, St. Frances College Women's Film Festival, 2018
"Family Rewritten" - Best in Show,  River Town Film Festival, 2017
"Family Rewritten" - Best Documentary, St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, 2017
"Family Rewritten" - Best Family & Fun Film, Marcellus Movie Madness, 2017
"Family Rewritten" - Winner: Third Place, Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival, 2017
"For A Better Life" - Audience Award, 10 Minute Film Festival, 2022
"For A Better Life" - Best Short Film, Lonely Seal Film Festival, 2020
"For A Better Life" - Golden Fox Award, Dox on the Fox, Documentary Short Film Festival, 2020
"For A Better Life" - Best Short Film, Outstanding Female Filmmaker, FOLCS, 2020
"For A Better Life" - Special Mention Award, BigSyn Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Best Documentary Short, Syracuse International Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Best Documentary Short, Runner-Up, Children’s Rights Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Best Documentary, Revolution Me Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Best Animation Short, Westfield International Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Audience Choice: 2nd Place, Mountain Shadow Short Film Competition, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Honorable Mention, LA Underground Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Best Short Documentary, Lighthouse International Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Honorable Mention: Best Animation, Katra Film Series, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Honorable Mention: Animated Short, SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Shoestring Trophy, Rochester International Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Black Feather Award, Blackbird Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - President's Award, WiFi Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" -  Audience Award: Best in Show, Chicago Feminist Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" -  Best Director of a Documentary Short, Queens World Film Festival, 2019
"For A Better Life" - Best Film: Family & Home, Marcellus Mini Movie Family Film Festival, 2018
"For A Better Life" - Best Documentary Short, St. Louis Filmmakers' Showcase, 2018


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