Joey Travolta, older brother of actor John Travolta, will open a vocational film school for the developmentally disabled in Sacramento this September. He has already set up workshops in Burbank, Livermore and Bakersfield.
In Sacramento, Inclusion Films will offer 20-week courses to adults with developmental disabilities that will teach entry-level film and media production skills.
“We’ve been working with Inclusion Films for several years on our summer film camps and have seen a tremendous impact on participants year after year,” Will Sanford, the executive director of Futures Explored, said in statement. He was referring to the annual two-week camps held at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga.
In the hands-on studio environment, students will work as a team with industry professionals to produce two short films, which could be entertainment, documentary, public service announcement, or a commercial.
The course will also include instruction in graphic design, advertising and sales. The workshop may be repeated up to four times by approved students.
The project aims to provide the practical skills to contribute to a production team, and help students “become employed, independent, and well-rounded individuals.”
Travolta got his degree in special education and was a special needs teacher before going into show business as a singer in 1978. He launched his acting career in 1979 before going on to become a director, writer and producer.
In addition to opening permanent studio workshops in California, Travolta travels the country with his production crew to offer summer camps to special needs kids.
Inclusion Films has also partnered with the non-profit HEAL and Jacksonville-based Filmlab Productions, to create the annual HEAL Film Camp, which offers a two-week studio workshop for special needs children ages 10-17, most of whom have autism.
Livermore Film Commission Director Jeanie Haigh brings a background in recreational programming and a film-lover’s fascination to her 24-7 position.
“I’m part-time, but all the time,” she laughed. “They can call me anytime and that’s big for film production people.